Get ready coaches. Google Panda isn’t a warm, fuzzy bear. Google’s latest major algorithm update slammed some major sites into oblivion.
Here’s what you need to know to survive and thrive in the new online playing field.
What is Google Panda?
Let’s start from the beginning. You already know about the Google Caffeine update in 2010. The focus then was on identifying sites with high quality content and ranking them higher in results.
A few weeks ago, Google made another algorithm change to penalize sites with low quality content. As a result, major sites like JC Penney and Overstock.com saw their rankings for high-competition keywords drop from page 1 to page 5-6.
Article directories and content farms were hit especially hard. Some saw a 90% decrease in traffic. Even directories with great content, like EzineArticles.com, saw traffic drop 10-35%.
Here’s what Google is looking for right now, what they are penalizing, and how to make your site thrive.
What does Google Panda Penalize?
On the new playing field, it’s not enough to have good PageRank value and lots of backlinks. Google is penalizing sites that don’t use good on-page SEO (search engine optimization). They are also catching sites that have been purchasing backlinks instead of getting backlinks legitimately.
Sites with excessive advertising are also taking a beating. In this case, Google seems more concerned with ads that interfere with reading the content than with the number of ads on a page. Sites that have multiple ad blocks before the content starts will be hit the hardest.
What does Google Panda Reward?
Google wants sites that have high-quality content, authority, and good on-page SEO. This is no different than what they’ve been wanting.
But this time Google is paying particular attention to the amount of time people spend on your site.
The engineers at Google have determined that people spend longer amounts of time on sites that have great information. These types of sites also tend to have the other things Google looks for: good PageRank value, lots of backlinks from other authority sites, and social media buzz such as Tweets and social bookmarking.
So let’s look at…
How to Get Google Panda to Love Your Site
What you’re about to read is NOT about tricking Google into ranking your site better. It’s about providing interesting, high quality information to your niche. That’s what Google wants to see on your site.
Here are 3 strategies to help you get higher ranking in the search engines.
1) Use On-site Video
It’s been proven that good interactive video keeps people on your site longer. By including videos that are 1-3 minutes in length on your site, you’ll keep people on your site longer.
Google will interpret the longer visits as a sign that you have a high quality site – and they’ll be correct. (Yes, Google really does keep track of these things with cookies on your computer.)
2) Use Good On-page SEO
This means using keywords in your page’s meta tags, header tags, and content. Include good linking structure within the site, text hyperlinks rather than images, and lots of related keywords in the content. If you’re writing about fitness, use related words like health, exercise, weight, heartbeat, blood pressure, muscles, etc.
3) Get Rid of Low Quality Pages
Google looks at your entire site. If they rate some of your pages as low quality, your entire site will be penalized. This is why the content farms and article directories got hit so hard with the Google Panda update.
Review your site and make sure your pages include good quality, original content. Here are some tips:
- Make it easy for readers to get the content. If you have a top 10 list, don’t put the content on 10 different pages. Instead, include it all on one page.
- Fix misspellings and grammatical errors.
- Make the page easy to read. Break up long paragraphs, avoid small font sizes, and add images to the content that help convey the message.
- Don’t include too many links (30+) out on a page, e.g. links to other sites.
- Write original content. Don’t just include content that is on other sites.
- Don’t let ads interfere with the content or make the content hard to read.
Summary – The #1 thing you need to know
Google wants sites with high-quality, original content. As an expert in your field, it’s really easy for you to give Google (and other search engines) what they need to rank you well in the search engines.
You love what you do and can probably talk about your solutions all day long. So do that in articles, audios, and videos on your site. Start with great content that people want to read and then add to that with the tips and strategies shared above.
My Mother Lode Websites™ continue to rank really well in the search engines because they make it easy for coaches and consultants to add great articles, audios, and videos to their website – all without the need of a webmaster. They also include great on-page SEO techniques.
To learn more about how a Mother Lode Website can attract high-paying clients (and Google) to your coaching practice, call me at 423-463-0003 or email me. I’m here to help you take your business to the next level.