The internet is a crowded place and it can be hard to get your content shared and seen by a large enough audience. Search results are key to your site being accessed, so you want to have content that is easily searchable and readily indexed by Google. However, the tools and strategies that have worked in the past may be exactly that – a thing of the past.
Recently (10th May) Google’s Matt Cutts announced the rollout of the Panda 4.0 update. This is expected to be a major algorithm change that will accompany the release of the Payday Loan 2.0 algorithm.
These new algorithms are currently being put into practice and they mark a game changing moment when it comes to SEO and general marketing for your website. But what does this mean for you? What has to be addressed so that your content is searchable and high ranking in Google’s search results?
Let’s have a look.
What happened to EBay?
Around the same time that the Panda update was announced, EBay revealed that it had suffered a major data breach. This is a euphemistic perspective on what was effectively a hacking scare and many countries’ have expressed concern for citizens’ data. EBay has been threatened by investigations from a number of international information commissioners.
EBay has been very slow to address the attack and it seems that the auction site feels that sending out emails to customers warning them to change passwords is enough of a response. This is clearly not the case and with many users claiming that they never received an email it seems that EBay may well be in trouble.
But what kind of trouble? With a number of users apparently losing a wealth of personal data to the hack it seems that EBay has completely failed to address the problem. Its inability to even prevent this from happening does little to instill trust in the auction behemoth. Since the attack EBay has denied allegations that financial details were accessed and has said that the damage was limited to customer names, email addresses, encrypted passwords, physical addresses, phone numbers and dates of birth.
How does it relate to Panda 4.0?
Since the rollout of Panda 4.0 and on the back of EBay’s hacking scandal, details have surfaced that suggest an 80% drop in organic traffic. However with any new major update to the internet there’s always a transition period, so it remains to be seen just how much of an effect the Panda update has on the auction site.
There’s evidence to suggest however that EBay has fallen out of the “Big 10” which is the Moz metrics for the domains that have the most “real estate.” It looks like EBay has been slapped on the wrist but it remains to be seen how long this punishment will last for. Whilst this was initially thought to be down to the Panda 4.0 update and there has been a lot of discussion surrounding it, it’s now thought that the site has suffered a manual penalty – or even a combination of both.
Panda 4.0 and You
So it becomes apparent that it’s not just about online capital or how heavily you can saturate content with keywords. Instead, there seems to be more going on and with EBay (a large and notable site) experiencing such a drop in rankings it becomes apparent that search gods Google are setting the rules. But what are these new rules and how do you avoid breaking them?
If you run a website or write copy for the web then Panda 4.0 will likely affect you. If you have duplicate content, poor content full of keywords, or just badly organised links then you might find that your site suffers from a lower Google ranking. In fact the real danger (or punishment) is the fact that Google may provide your site with a manual penalty, which costs a lot of time and money to rectify.
Google wants to make the internet a better place and one where content can be trusted. The Authorship ranking that it’s already introduced serves to put a face to a writers name and make the whole copywriting process less about the content itself and more about who is writing it. The Panda 4.0 update will ideally ensure that when users search for content the results they see are the best possible ones with the highest voracity from the most trusted authors.
Anyone who runs a site or who has a lot of experience online will know that the worst contributor is also the most prolific – spam. Google knows this too and in an attempt to balance the internet with a heavier emphasis on human content, it’s released Panda 4.0. As the name suggests it’s not the first version and its just another attempt by Google to cut down on the sheer amount of spam infecting websites and search results.
Black Hat SEO
Black hat SEO is a problem online and it effectively means that a piece of copy isn’t written for the audience but instead for the keywords used and rank that can be gained. There’s even things like hidden text in code, link farming, blog spamming, and numerous other ways to generate content in ways that’s considered unethical. Google has always attempted to cut back on this and now with the Panda 4.0 update it seems like it’s increased its chances to combat the incessant flow of spam-related information.
Grey Hat SEO
This is more ethically ambiguous than black hat tactics but it’s still likely to get you a penalty from Google. The techniques employed are article spinning, creating separate pages for each keyword, and manipulating content with CSS. Grey hat SEO tactics can also involve buying expired domains to link to the site of the buyer.
White Hat SEO
Then there’s white hat SEO and this is the approach most likely to boost your search ranking. The tactics include:
- Creating a well-structured site with good internal linking
- Creating and distributing quality content
- Optimising a site so that the keywords and meta information show up at the right time and in the right place
If you have a site that’s full of original content and search engine optimised then there’s very little for you to change. Keep doing what you’re doing and make sure that you keep up to date with SEO practices. If you’re running a site that uses black or even grey hat SEO tactics then you’re likely to get slapped with a costly penalty.
Remember that content is always key and you should strive to write articles that add to a given conversation. Don’t cut corners and make sure that you’re running your site in a professional and considered manner. EBay made a mistake and now it’s paying for it – don’t emulate them. Instead craft a website that’s known for its great content. You’ll see the benefits in the search engines, in the quality of readers and in the feedback that you get.