Does Google’s Recent Panda Update Affect Your Site?

April 21, 2014
by Kimberly Treacy

    Panda Update_Big Red SEOIf you were safe from the recent Panda updates, you may not be in the clear just yet! Google regularly refreshes its algorithms, and there is speculation of a soft Panda update late last night into the early morning hours. As a Nebraska SEO Consultant, we don’t expect you to know the ins and outs of Panda updates (or if they apply to your site). However, the following tips can help the work we are performing tremendously. Below, we’ve provided some insight that will benefit any service provided by an Omaha SEO Company.

    Latest Patch Affects 1.2% of English Search Queries

    Google has been preaching high quality content for some time now. All of Google’s Panda updates simply relate to additional tweaks to their SERPS (search engine results pages), in an effort to more accurately rank high-quality sites. Google addressed this at length in May of 2011 via Google Webmaster Central. When the Panda algorithm was first released, it improved rankings for a large number of high-quality sites, and penalized low-quality sites. If this latest patch affects 1.2% of English search queries, then 98.8% will remain unaffected and a vast majority of businesses have nothing to be concerned about.

    How the 1.2% rejoins the 98.8%

    Google’s advice (and ours) continues to be to focus on delivering the absolute best possible user experience to your visitors. We read about SEO strategies, especially in Omaha, that continue to fixate on Google’s Panda algorithm change, but Panda is just one ingredient in Google’s recipe for success. In reality, Google rolls out roughly a minimum of 500 search improvements each and every year.

    Dropped in SERPs? Google Might Not Be the Blame!

    If you’ve found that your ranking has changed recently, don’t assume that all the changes were related to a Google Update. If you’re located in the Midwest, have had an SEO strategy, and notice your rankings drop, you’re more than likely being chased by your competition. In Omaha specifically, SEO has become a common term and people are eager to learn the techniques.

    How Businesses Are Using SEO To Work Smarter!

    Businesses all around the world are looking to work smarter, not harder. Having a proactive approach to how customers are finding you in the first place will often lead a business to discovering the term “search engine optimization.” It’s very common that your competition is now familiar with Organic SEO and possibly optimizing their website.

    “I’m Penalized Even When I Follow the Rules!”

    A problem arises when your perception of a high-quality site doesn’t agree with Google’s assessment. Google doesn’t disclose their actual ranking signals for obvious reasons, most notably to discourage folks who want to game Google’s results.

    If Google truly wants sites to deliver great customer experiences, then that brings into focus some common sense guidelines, the first of which is TRUST. Would you trust the information presented as it relates to your search query? Google has described at length what they recommend visitors look for as they enter search queries. As Nebraska SEO Consultants, we echo their recommendations, while adding some of our own.

    Have You Been Penalized? Here’s An Example

    Google does provide two boxes with the words “yes” or “no” to the question “have I been penalized?” In many cases, a business will not realize they have been penalized until it is too late.

    Take Fred for example–he owns a company that generates 70% of its business online. While he offers a product on a national level he has found that the Midwest area has treated him quite well. Fred’s business is seasonal, and he relies on 8 out of the 12 months to keep him in business.

    During Fred’s slow season he realizes that his local word of mouth referrals have increased. While he expected to not be so busy during his off season, he puts his nose to the ground and fulfills as many orders as he can while performing face-to-face meetings to build long-term relationships.

    With the additional business in full swing, Fred takes his eye off the ball (of his online business). He continues on this path through all of his slow months and then, BAM! It hits him. During his peak season he is not receiving as many online orders, and hell, his online traffic isn’t even 30% of his business any more. Doing the math, that means he’s lost 40% of his online business due to the lack of traffic.

    Why is this? Last year while he was at a barbeque, Fred’s buddy Joe pulled him aside and told him a great story of how his online business skyrocketed due to some SEO techniques he was using. Fred thought to himself, “I’d love some new business!” and got into doing some of the same techniques. What Fred didn’t realize is he was entering into several “get results quick” SEO tactics that are a “no-no” in Google’s eyes. Fast forward again to the middle of Fred’s peak season, both his sanity and business are suffering. The worst part is there is no solution!

    If you feel you’ve been penalized, our Omaha SEO experts recommend you to read the questions below.

    • Are articles written by authors who seem to know the topic inside and out – OR – do they lack depth?
    • Does the site appear to be “spun” with duplicate, overlapping or redundant articles with slightly different keyword variations?
    • Would you feel comfortable pulling out your purse or wallet to make a purchase on the site?
    • Is the site professionally written? Does it have obvious spelling errors, lack style, or even contain factual errors? – Yes, grammar does matter!
    • Do the topics closely match search queries, or does the site just seem to guess what might work well in the search engines? – Remember, write to your audience first, search engine second!
    • Does the site contain an excessive number of ads that distract from or interfere with the main content? – Affiliate websites, beware!
    • Does the site provide a complete or comprehensive description of the topics that visitors are searching for? – This is by far the most important question to ask yourself. Search engines need to know what industry you represent so they can categorize you properly.
    • Would visitors recommend this site to their circles of influence (friends, family, co-workers and acquaintances)?

    Of course, there are many other questions, factors, and key indicators to determine if your business has been penalized by Google specifically. If you answered negatively to several of these questions, or all of them, you might have been one of the many businesses who have been penalized.

    Conclusion

    Need help understanding Panda refreshes and patches? Contact us here at Big Red SEO, an Omaha Search Engine Optimization Company, at (402) 522-6468. Our mission is to help businesses get found where their customers are looking. More than ever, potential customers are searching for services in their local area. We help you get the results you deserve.

    Kimberly Treacy

    About

    Kimberly Treacy (Talbot) is an SEO Guru with a ‘no bullshit’ attitude. As the owner of Big Red SEO, she provides companies of all sizes what they need to know to get their business in front of those looking for their services and products. Big Red SEO is one of the few search engine optimization companies that offers ‘industry exclusivity’ meaning we only work with one company within an industry and their market at a time.