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Knowing the Heart of the Panda (2 of 3)

Confused about the Google Panda? Trying to understand what is the purpose of such an animal’s existence in the virtual space?

Last week we went through two major factors that will result in the Panda penalty. This week, let’s better understand this often misunderstood algorithmic creature!

To fear or not to fear?

A major update on Google’s search algorithm is usually the cause for panic for website developers, marketers, and even business owners. It is as though we are all at the mercies of the algorithm update. But have you ever wondered if that fear is warranted?

The panic caused is often unjustified. In fact, there’s no need for alarm if your website already contains high quality content for visitors. You might even look forward to Panda, because you’ll outrank your competitors 😝 

There are however, exceptions such as websites which outrightly border on grey and black hat SEO practices. The crucible is in knowing what practices border upon the grey areas

The Panda-Pacific Partnership (Yes, PPP not TPP)

On the topic of Google Search algorithm updates, Gary Illyes from Google has confirmed that Google Panda has been integrated into the Google’s core algorithm for some time now, which stresses on the importance of understanding Panda better.

gary-illyes-tweetNow – what goal did Google have in mind when they first released the Panda? Was it for good or for bad? The fact of the matter is that Google Panda was designed for a noble cause – to provide searchers with high quality content – accurate, detailed and beneficial – to all visitors utilizing the Google Search Engine.

To achieve this, Google Panda will crawl sites to penalize them should they have low-quality content. This pushes website developers and content marketers to ensure their site contains high quality content that are beneficial to visitors.

A Google spokesman has confirmed this saying:

“At the end of the day, content owners shouldn’t ask how many visitors they had on a specific day, but rather how many visitors they helped.”

The key here is not about KPIs and ROIs, but in ensuring that the website provides the best content to meet their visitors’ needs. This in turn, would benefit the sites rankings on the Search Engine Results Page.

That’s right – if you have beneficial content that accurately meets the needs of your visitors, you have nothing to fear!

So, does the Panda bite?

Why is it still a cause for concern for many website developers and content owners? It is simply because of two reasons:

1. Understanding of Requirements

Been told that there was a minimum word requirement to qualify as high quality content? Yes, it is certainly encouraged to write a healthy amount of high quality content (which sufficiently benefits visitors in their search in acquiring what they need) – but context matters too. 

Below is an example of a site with just 239 words, and yet it ranks. It is even given a Featured Snippet by Google! In this case, lengthening the article would have made the paragraph less concise. It could have potentially revoked the Featured Snippet. For that matter, images and videos are also crawled by Google too.

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This is just one area where many may have a mismatch in understanding of what Google’s definition of high quality content is.

Having a headache from the intricacies of the Panda algo? We’re always ready to help you navigate the high seas of the virtual space!  

2. Understanding of Metrics

Google measures through various metrics such as “time to long click”¹

This is a mathematical-behavioral approach to gauge the level of interest visitors have – in terms of being user-friendly and having beneficial content.

That is the reason why content quality is not the only detail that matters. Is your website boringly wordy? Relevant? Clunky? Or is it intuitive enough? How would you rate YOUR website as a consumer? These are all areas marketers and web developers should look into, but the universe of user experience is vast and we’ll save it for another day. For the time being, here’s a useful yet succinct set of questions that will help you determine how user-friendly your website is.

Moving Forward

When encountering the Google Panda or any other search engine updates, adopt this principle – information brings security. Once you better understand the subject, you will know how – not just to survive – but thrive, positioning yourself to reap the most advantage of the times.

If you are interested in understanding more about Google Panda, you can find out more from this extensive article.

And should you need help at being at the top of your game in the fast-moving world of the digital realm, reach out to a professional digital marketing agency today!

¹A long click refers to the a user remaining on the site for a long period of time after clicking through a Google Search Engine Result Page (SERP).

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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.

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