Stop Fighting Google: Embracing the Farmer Update

Google recently launched their newest public algorithm update, Big Panda/Farmer, and like all algo updates, this one threw the entire internet and SEO community into frenzy. People claimed article marketing was dead, SEO practices would change forever, internet marketing was now impossible etc. Now that the dust has settled, we can take a clear, fear and emotion free look at the aftermath.

Google themselves said that the focus of the update was to target content farms. Right away we would assume this would mean more original content and higher quality content in the SERPs (search engine results pages). However, this is not exactly what transpired. Many articles directories such as the somewhat highly esteemed Ezine Articles directory were hit VERY hard by the update.

Ezine may not have necessarily been a source of the most unique or highest quality content, but its losses were massive – 35% drop in search traffic. What’s more surprising is that ehow.com perhaps simply because of the demise of its competitors, gained 15% more search traffic. Ehow is not renowned for the quality of its content, but search engines have never seen quality the same way we do as human beings. There are a few lessons to be learned about quality from the latest update.

-Originality of content matters

As they set out to do, it’s obvious with the serious hit that the article directories took, that the uniqueness of content on your site matters. To what degree we do not know, but it is certainly a factor. Ezine for sure had plenty of original, unique content and tons of content only shared by other directories. In contrast, Ehow has all of its own unique content, and well…we can see how they fared.

As for the other insight to be gleaned from the update, things get even sketchier, but there are other changes to be noted. As a solid starting place, we look to what Chris Knight, Ezine Articles CEO, had to say about Ezine’s reform after the update: http://blog.ezinearticles.com/2011/02/search-engine-algorithm-changes.html#more-11693. The main idea is of course to improve quality, but two factors stand out specifically.

-Article Length

The first, and only of Ezine’s goals to already be enacted for improved quality, was an increase in the minimum word count for submissions. They increased the minimum word count from 250 to 400. We can effectively mimic any moves they make that improve their rankings, which is why it is a good idea to keep an eye on the super-popular article directory Ezine. It makes sense as well that longer length articles/content will rank better in the SERPs seeing how it is something easily measured in Google’s algorithm and is often a sign of quality to us as human readers. Another interesting factor mentioned by Chris Knight was their goal to reduce the number of ads per article page.

-Fewer Ads

Are the pages on your site dominated by Adsense ads? You might want to seriously consider cutting back. A common theme with all of the sites hit hardest by the algorithm update was a large percentage of ads per outbound links. In other words, if you link with ads more than with normal hyperlinks to quality sites, you might be experiencing some bad karma in the search engines. We’ll have to watch and see exactly how Ezine modifies their article pages, but it seems as though they’ll likely reduce the amount of ads which in theory, should help them regain market trust and rankings.

The common theme through all of the major updates is pretty simple: focus on the user experience. Often times the best ways to optimize your site are also the best ways to provide a great user experience. What’s more, if you follow Google’s guidelines, you only stand to improve your rankings with the next update. Some people fear every next coming update because it means they’ll lose rankings and have to learn new “tricks”. Don’t be one of these people, embrace the updates!

Learn more about how you can optimize your site with this free SEO course. Ben Jackson is an SEO expert and enthusiast, and founder of www.seodiscovery.org.

Google Changed Its Search Algorithm, But The Earth Didn”t Shake

Watching the SEO experts it would seem as if the earth shook when Google made some changes to its search algorithm. There was, in fact so much of hoopla that I could feel a few trembles. But once the dust has settled and the hype has been thrown out of the window, I have realized that it was not such an earth shattering event after all.

Most of the sites have stayed put

If you do a bit of research (high sounding word for a simple search), you would find that most of the sites remain where they were before the earthquake. It hasn’t made any difference to most of websites. Google itself admits that only twelve percent of sites, that too sites like article directories, have got the jitters. I feel Google bot( the search robot) was made to crawl through a lot of crap and this wasn’t taken lightly by the guys at Google. Imagine having to sift through millions of pages a day, when you know that most of it is promotional stuff. But if you are not one of those content crunching juggernauts, you need not bother.

Content still remains king

One more thing which I noticed is that content is still the king. If you are providing real stuff out there, you need not worry. It is the dubious people who are being targeted.

Why is this purging necessary?

Flashback to the days, when there was no Google. All sites used to lead to some sleazy sex scene or another. Keyword stuffing was a normal occurrence and you could never find the information you wanted – there was no information at all – it was either stupid keywords or sex. Not that I minded all the sex, but there is a point where you just can’t keep it up- I mean it was simply crazy out there. And then came Google like the apocryphal David, slayer of giant Goliath. It was a time I remember well. They purged the whole system and sex went into hiding but not without a fight. It is because of this that I call this new search engine algorithm a good thing. I personally am into Medifast coupons and Nutrisystem discounts, but I cannot stuff these keywords anywhere I wish. But I don’t really bother. I have many other ways to flaunt my thing.

Refining the search process

I am a tech guy and deep inside I want technology to transform lives. Search engine optimization and online marketing are critical to our modern businesses. You just can’t ignore the power of technology. Some people think that tech is disruptive. To me it is a creative process. It is something which can change lives and has impacted millions of small businesses. Google search has democratized technology- it has made millionaires out of common folk.

Conclusion

Google’s new search algorithm is good for every one of us. It is an attempt to put real content in the forefront. It has made us realize, once again, that change is always good for small guys like us.

SEO Tips about Google’s Panda Algorithm Update

There has been lots of talk on the Google Algorithm update. True enough; the change on the Google rankings has affected lots of websites and businesses. It’s common for online businesses to argue that their once number one spot in search engine rankings were toppled in an instant. The upside of the story is that there were minimal numbers of banned sites. So, the affected ones still have chances of recovering.

With all that’s going on the Google Panda system, any online business owner who relies on SEO rankings would be alarmed. The situation might not be that green but there are still ways to get around the seemingly stricter rules of the giant search engine company. Look at these SEO tips that might help.

• Make your website trustworthy to the eyes of everyone.
One of the complaints that Google cited is that their users find unreliable sites in search engine results. What Google did was to ask human testers to assess sites. This gave the company a certain set of parameters in evaluating each site based on the search query users type in.

How trustworthy your site can be depends on your business. Users need to be comfortable enough to provide their credit card details and other personal information because they know your site is secure. Having a verifiable address and contact number also helps.

• Do not overload on ads.
One of the best SEO tips you can get in the new Google Panda system is to lessen your ads. These income-generation opportunities can be too much of a hindrance. Google wants to see that you’re generating authoritative content. Its new algorithm puts a low score on content scrapers who prioritize the ads more. This lets the search engine cross out sites that live just for the ad revenues.

• Get quality content.
The new Google Algorithm update underscores the importance of authoritative content. It has been common practice to paraphrase content and articles or spin them just for SEO purposes. This would not work anymore as Google wants to keep websites who don’t have credible write-ups at the far-end of their rankings. Getting a good writer and doing your own research on the topic would now be worthier.

• Serve a purpose.
No new SEO tips would work well with the new algorithm if you don’t define what your website is for. If it is for selling your stuff, you need to prove that you’re a legitimate business. As such, you also have to check the previous tips. Find that these sets of advices are interconnected. This is how the new Google Algorithm update system works.

No one knows when Google would lift such procedures or if it will stop following such a system. The bottom line is that you need to adjust to it so your business could stay afloat. After all, all that Google seems to require is legitimacy and authority. Prove to them that your business deserves to be on top of their results page.