Already in the digital realm with a website that you want to top search engine rankings? (if you’re still wondering why this is even important, read this ultimate list)
But wait — having your ranks up is not all there is. You may already be appearing on the glorious first page, or perhaps you are falling behind. No matter where you rank, there is something about content marketing that can make or break your SEO efforts. See that skyfall, it can happen to you.
Google has always been on the notch of displaying quality websites as top results for the relevant search term. Their crawlers take provocative measures to put your site to the quality test, and of course, your site content will matter. The penalty, the infamous Google Panda algorithm, is pretty harsh.
The Panda algorithm is specifically watching out for your content — great quality content gets rewarded and spammy and lacklustre content will be demoted. Once penalized, your entire site will be affected. No compromise there. This means that potential customers will not even see your company’s website when they search for your industry keywords – you can pretty much imagine the amount of potential sales you’ll be losing out on.
At Appiloque, we’ve encountered a handful of cases where recovery periods can span from 4 to 6 months. So here it is, this is telling you: don’t go messing with that Panda.
To ride upon the waves of the Panda tremors, you’ve got to monitor closely to your page performance to see what worked and what didn’t. Fortunately, there are tools that are accessible to you right now: Google Analytics and Google Search Console.
The discussion on the Panda algo can get really long and technical. For today, we’ll explore two major areas where you can quickly find out if you’re likely to be trapped in this penalty.
1. Duplicated Content: The site-wide Google Panda Penalty
The Google “Panda” update began with penalizing sites with duplicated content, so here’s the big question…
What exactly is duplicated content?
Duplicated content is one of the most overlooked issues that may not catch your attention, but is going to wedge itself under your skin like a stubborn splint. You’ll have to perform a SEO audit to spot these problematic pages.
For repeated links showing the same content:
Contact your webmaster to redirect those pages to a common link, and remove the duplicated pages to avoid any further penalties from Google.
For external duplicate issues:
Decide if these pages are really needed on your site. If you’re ready to let them go, make a clean break and noindex those pages. Moving forward, the best solution would be to rewrite these content into user-centric information. (Yes, the Google algo is able to measure that.)
Get professional help to keep afloat all these problems. If bad pages remain, you’re essentially depleting Google’s crawl budget, preventing your better pages from being indexed and raised up the ranks. Essentially, if all but one page is good in Google’s eyes, they will still penalise the site for its weakest link – No pun intended.
2. Thin Content: Avoid this or drop in rankings
This often happens for product pages — we get it, you can’t possibly be writing 500 – 800 words unique content for each of your item, that’s favourable but is not the best way to work around this. More content does not necessarily equate to “thick” content that Google favours. In fact, Google algorithmically judges thin content through “time to long click” ¹
- Fatten up your content by reviewing your content from your users’ perspective.
- Got no time and too many thin pages? Your best bet would be to noindex these pages.
Your content should be unique and it provide information useful to the query and it should meet the expectation of your meta title and description. This is also a healthy practice to building stable SEO rankings for your brand.
There is more to content marketing than meets the eye, but an apt focus would be user engagement – which is why Google implements these penalties in the first place. Yet, for your site quality to seamlessly blend into an integrated plan, much effort and consciousness is required.
A focus on user engagement is not something new, but implementing it is surely not a one-size-fits-all approach and definitely should not be done with cookie-cutting techniques.
From the search engine giant (Google) itself,
“Users not only remember but also voluntarily spread the word about the quality of the site, because the content is produced with care, it’s original, and shows that the author is truly an expert in the topic of the site.”
In fact, when you start building your content with user engagement in mind, you are essentially focusing on being the expert of your industry. Content marketing will work in tandem with your SEO efforts well when it is within a single strategic plan of your unique business goal. The outcome: you will be able to worm your way up the ranks in the most organic manner.
If you operate a small business, time might not be on your side. Consider outsourcing your site content quality to digital marketing solutions that will help scale your business more purposefully and consistently 😀
We’ll continue to explore in more detail aspects to watch out for in your website in future postings. For now, stay safe from the Panda!
¹ When a visitor clicks on a query result and stays relatively longer on your site before returning to the results page.
Zachary is a Business Development Executive in Appiloque. In the after-hours, he serves as a Division Agent, taking back the city of New York when all else fails.