We started this blog back in July 2010 with a post that asked the question “Is content still the king of SEO?” and according to Google’s latest update this question seems to be still as relevant, if not even more so, than it was then and than it was 5 years ago. And Google’s latest algorithm named “Farmer/Panda” proves it.
Over the past few years, Google seemed to concentrate mainly on link spammers, but their latest effort is aimed at the many poor quality content sites that exist around the net – sites that spammers use to help them rank high for long tail keywords and that until now have used many of the available spots in the search results first page.
What are the implications of the latest Google update for our affiliates?
As part of our aim to help our affiliates we provide them with merchandising tools and databases that generate content to use on their sites, but we have always maintained that this content should be used for merchandising purposes and that there is very little SEO value to this contents.
Still, some of our long established affiliates have benefited from a good flow of traffic from the organic search results towards sites that merely use our content to create their pages. These are the sites that will be affected by this and future Google updates.
As Google explains in its official blog:
This update is designed to reduce rankings for low-quality sites—sites which are low-value add for users, copy content from other websites or sites that are just not very useful. At the same time, it will provide better rankings for high-quality sites—sites with original content and information such as research, in-depth reports, thoughtful analysis and so on….
This means that unless you have done your homework and have created content useful for human beings and not for machines your site may suffer with this update.
If your site has been hit by Google’s Farmer/Panda update here is what you can do:
First of all you will need to know if your site was updated by this change in the Google Algorithm or if the reason for the drop in traffic is a different one. It is easy to find out – if your site’s traffic dropped in February 24th. then you were probably hit by the Farmer update.
If your site suffered from the update you will need to know which areas where affected and which ones weren’t. Use Google Webmaster Tools to determine which queries had a large drop in impressions and number of clicks – bear in mind that if your page only dropped a few places but remains in the same SERP (i.e. from #1 to #8) then the number of impressions has probably remained the same while the clicks have dropped considerably.
If you know which pages of your site were affected and which ones weren’t you will be able to compare the difference in the quality of the content between these two groups, this should give you a rough idea of what Google considers as good content.
If most of your site has been affected then it’s time to compare your information with that provided by the pages that now rank at the top positions.
Remember that Google wants you to have original and compelling content, content that your visitors will love and forward it to their friends.
While succeeding in the competitive travel sector seems to be a difficult task, there are new approaches that make it to the top of the rankings all the time. Always put yourself in the mind of a user of your site and try to think of the things you would like to see when searching for the terms where you have dropped in the search results – this will give you a good idea of the direction you should take to fix the drop in rankings.
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Tags: google algorithm
, google farmer update
, SEO Update