When Google updated its search algorithm, the importance of unique content was reiterated, leaving many ‘content farms’ stuck in their tracks. The search engine ranking rules have changed and if you want your site to rank, it has to be written for people.
Here, we explain the method behind Google Panda and why the unique content approach is both effective and necessary.
Keeping Search Relevant
Google’s latest innovation, known as the Panda algorithm, is designed to address the problem of ‘scrapper sites’ and ‘content farms’ that outrank original authors. Panda is looking to remove low quality websites with republished or shallow content.
Characteristically, these low grade sites are mass produced content that specifically target popular search queries, rather than the human eye. The content is generally produced by paid content writers who often have no experience in the industry.
Upon initial release, some felt Panda was a bit aggressive; blocking many sites that should not have been affected. Those hit by the algorithm have had opportunities to make proper corrections but won’t see immediate improvements. Panda is a manual algorithm and is only run when Google decides.
A new iteration of Panda (version 2.2) is said to address the harshness of the original release, yet still continue to remove low quality sites and improve relevant contact for a person’s query.
Panda’s aim is to ensure that users have a good experience; no matter the cost.
What is classified as low quality?
Not everyone agrees on the definition of low quality content, but they tend to recognise and agree upon it when they see it. This is the test Google performed to incorporate human feedback as to what is relevant content. Users were asked questions as to whether they trusted the site, based on the information provided.
This algorithmic definition was further confirmed when Google saw users block these sites through the Google Chrome functionality and those affected by Panda. They believe if a site is leaning towards low quality and is blocked by users, its status is confirmed as the lower scale.
Many search engine ranking experts believe a checklist, similar to the one below, is used to assess and determine the quality of sites for Panda.
Is the site easy to navigate?
Is it obvious as to what each page is about?
Is the content original or a replica from another site?
Is the content valuable and written by an industry expert?
Do the ads obscure the content?
Ranking methods will be based on the way people are searching for one sites content, rather than links from reputable websites.
How do I make my website suitable?
Key to staying relevant in Google’s eyes is content in-depth enough on subject matter so that users don’t have to go elsewhere to find the answers. Use your expertise to show users your capabilities and offerings.
Fresh content and continual updates will bring diverse and relevant information to your site, encouraging others to share with those with similar search queries.
For the average website owner you have to pay attention to the quality of your content in preparation for continual Panda updates. Although you should be conscious of Google’s algorithm, you shouldn’t chase it. Chase after what your users will love because after all, that’s what Google is after too.