We’ve all been hit or at least know someone who’s been hit by Panda. When the algorithm tweak debuted last year, it spawned a chorus of outrage and even a fair bit of anger. After all, Google asked for content everywhere and now it was penalizing the people heeding their suggestions. How could this be? Why would Google do this? Is it for good? How effective has Panda been in tackling the problem it intended to? And is it all over or is there more to come? Here are all your questions answered!
What Are the Priorities?
Google’s priority has always been its user base. After all, good search is how Google derives most of its income, which is crucial as it’s a publically listed company. And SEO, often through black hat tactics was clogging up search results with bad, content-less spam sites. The problem with most of those sites is that they chose to obey the letter of the Google law while blatantly ignoring the spirit of it. Google said that sites would rank on content. So, many websites created content so they could rank better; not so they would actually have something to attract users with or something worth sharing. Google addressed this through algo tweaks penalizing sites with high bounce rates. High Link rates, linkbacks to questionable sites and similar endeavors were also penalized, all in the name of creating a better experience for users.
And the Effect?
Today a good deal of SERPs still show a lot of spammy content especially if you tackle certain over-optimized keywords. Try googling ‘buy viagra’ or ‘online casino’. The Panda update tackled a good deal of problems but it is not enough. We need a follow up to panda and this can only benefit SEO.
SEO and search agencies make a living precisely by tricking Google and altering SERPs. Well, that doesn’t look like it’s changing anytime soon. What does look like it’s about to change it the overall job description of a SEO specialist. No longer do they have to bump a site up a page; now they need to carefully plan the online strategy of a website.
Unsurprisingly, Rand Fishkin addressed the issue already in an older white board Friday. SEOs in the Panda age have to create not only good content but catchy content that literally keeps people reading and possibly browsing on to other local pages. SEO is now community-building and outreach. And we need more of this.
That’s why Google shouldn’t stop with Panda. It should push on and find new metrics to gauge to further restrict SEOed pages. Perhaps in the process they will end up changing the SEO field forever and making black hat practices a thing of the past.