When it comes to the web it is well known that users have the attention span of a 3 year old all jacked up on Mountain Dew, as we all want results and we want them now! No one is more aware of this than Google, and undoubtedly, one of the reasons Google remains at the top of the proverbial search totem pole is that they expend considerable thought resources on refining their search algorithms to ensure that they are delivering the most relevant results to a user’s search query. On May 20th, 2014 Google rolled out their latest algorithm update Panda 4.0, which immediately sent web gurus scrambling to analyze site analytics to try and decode what factors may or may not have been changed, and how it impacted their organic site rankings.
So I get it, I need to stop using fancy words, and tech mumbo jumbo, as the real question here is why do my hyper local clients care about Panda 4.0? Well in the simplest terms, Google utilizes a variety of algorithms to target different result verticals, and Panda is historically known for analyzing the quality of content a website has. On the most fundamental level it makes complete sense that Google would be looking at better ways to analyze the quality of content that a website has, as better content leads to a happier end user because that user was able to get awesome results relevant to their search! It is critical that as a small business you understand how Panda 4.0 could impact your website’s organic performance, as completely ignoring it could lead directly to the demise of your website – which would negatively impact the bottom line of your business.
When looking at the Panda 4.0 update, there are three core areas that must be evaluated to make sure your website continues to thrive within the new content based search algorithm:
Content Is King
Now this isn’t a call to flood your site with excessive and over the top content, rather it is a call to make sure that the content on your site is of high quality. You should place a direct effort on reviewing your content, removing any duplicate/redundant content, and really look at making sure that the content you provide is concise, easy to read, and unique to your business.
Keep It Simple Stupid
They days of over-thinking how to dump additional keywords into your website are dead. Of course the basics of making sure that you have a solid title tag, header tag and description still exist, but that by itself isn’t going to shoot your site up the organic search engine rankings. Instead talk about your business in a method that is easy for people to digest, and that truly highlights the services, products, or functions that your business provides to a user without over complicating it.
Make It Easy To Use
Usability. Usability. Usability. This is nothing new, but when the spiders crawl your website, the easier time they have navigating and reading your content then the more likely your website is going to have a higher level of usability, and this will directly impact your site’s organic rankings. What should you be on the lookout for?
- It should be easy to navigate from page to page on your website
- The pages should load quickly
- You need to avoid broken links, images, and errors on the website
Follow these guidelines and your website should be considered user friendly by the search engines.
From early analysis of the impact Panda 4.0 has had on websites across the web, it does appear that websites that focus on delivering high quality content, making it easy to read and understand, and have a high usability score were rewarded in rankings. These concepts aren’t novel to the Panda algorithm as Google has talked about all of these for years, but with each update you’re seeing more and more of emphasis placed on them that will directly impact the bottom line performance of your website.
Lynn Hughes is the Product Manager at PowerSites®, an all inclusive website-hosting, creation, and marketing solution that helps local businesses establish their brand, drive leads, and track success. PowerSites® is a leading resource in print, online and mobile for hyperlocal advertising, and brand management with our Business Directory Listings.