Of Penguins and Pandas: Why Content Matters

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It’s impossible to overstate the influence that Google has on your company’s success. Achieving high placement on the first page of search results is a guarantee of higher traffic, and if you can land the coveted number one spot for your niche, you’ve got it made. However, it’s gotten tougher to achieve those high SERP placements.

In their early days, Google and other search engines were naive; they believed any keyword-stuffed document that came their way. Black-hat techniques gamed the system, filling pages with nonsense phrases wrapped around high-value keywords just to attract traffic. For search engine users, these nuisance sites devalued the engines that returned such results, so Google and others have fought back with more sophisticated algorithms for determining a site’s ranking. Two of the most important Google changes have been the Panda and Penguin updates.

You can read all about the Panda and the Penguin at Google’s official webmaster blog, but what they both boil down to is that content-poor, link-rich articles are no longer welcome on the front pages of search results. The Panda update targeted the thin content, duplicated text and dull writing produced by content mills; Penguin went after keyword stuffing and link-bait article marketing.

Why Penguin and Panda Are Good News for Business

Both updates were bad news for the black hats, but great news for you and every other company with something real to offer. You’re no longer competing against low-value sites for a share of your audience’s attention. These updates have cleared away the litter and left legitimate businesses standing – or at least, that was the original intent.

Unfortunately, many legitimate businesses were caught in the sieve designed to filter out that clutter of keyword-stuffed nonsense. If you’ve paid attention to your site analytics, you may already have noticed the effects of these updates on your business, particularly if your current site contains old content or information that’s been published elsewhere. For example, a furniture company that used manufacturers’ descriptions on its stock in its e-commerce site was heavily penalized and saw a 75 percent reduction in traffic because Panda saw the site as filled with duplicate content and repetitious pages.

The store owner had to invest in new content for his site and pay for fresh, unique descriptions of every item in his online catalog, but it paid off; he not only regained his lost traffic within a month, he also got a welcome bounce as Google held all of that new text in high regard. Your business can enjoy a similar boost from combing through your current site and doing away with duplicate descriptions and thin content.

Pandas and Penguins Demand Fresh Content

The flip side of Panda and Penguin penalties is the reward that both updates offer for keeping content fresh and relevant. Every time you add a new blog post that links to past information or to other pages on your site, you’re building search engine value. As Google and other search engines get better at mirroring what users want to see in their search results, high-quality writing with natural contextual linking will rise higher. Offer something that pleases the Penguin and the Panda, and you’ll earn a higher place on the SERPs, too.

© Business Content, Inc. 2012 All Rights Reserved.

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