Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Google Panda: Changing the Face of SEO...again
by Alyssa Ast
Even months after the new Google Panda requirements for indexing have been in place, the results of these changes continue to trickle down, changing the face of SEO as we know it. Yes, keywords/phrases, quality content and links are still the backbone to search engine optimization, but now, new elements are coming into play that are crucial to obtain and maintain a high search engine ranking-- so get ready to feel the sting of the Panda once again.
The Google Panda requirements are now evaluating website brands, social interactions and the user's behavior on websites when indexing a site.
The Changing Face of SEO
Branding.-- If you're a small time business, your goal for a high SERP ranking just became harder as Google is now looking at banding when ranking content. What was once considered to be spammy, is now an essential component for website ranking. The bigger the brand, the higher the ranking. As a result, it's going to be very difficult for small time brands to rank over the competition. However, it's not impossible for the smaller businesses to rank. This is where hyperlinking becomes essential. Linking your website to the higher brands will aid with your ranking, but in my opinion, who wants to link to their competition? Seems like an unfair battle, but if you develop your site correctly and get your website out there as much as possible, you will stand a fighting chance.
Social Interactions.-- Now more than ever, you need to put on your social networking hat if you hope to achieve a high SERP ranking. Google's now looking at a website's social interactions: the number of on and off site comments, tweets, mentions, likes and everything in between. Don't like social networking? Too bad. If you want to index well, you better become involved and stay involved or your ranking will suffer.
User Behavior.--You had better make sure users enjoy your site and find it valuable or your ranking is going to feel the sting. Google's looking to user feedback to rank content now. For example, it's not just your bounce rate you have to worry about, but how long it takes a user to click on your website from the results page, if they return to your site, and how they use your site. With this in place, you had better make certain you keep your reader in mind when developing a website.
It's understandable Google is trying to weed out the lower and irrelevant websites, but are they making it too difficult for the honest underdogs to succeed? What do you think? Will the changing face of SEO help the average Joe with ranking, or hinder their success?