What do Penguins and Pandas have in common?

30th July 2012 in SEO

  1. You can find both in a zoo.
  2. They are both black and white.
  3. They are both Google algorithm updates.

Although both one and two are technically correct, it is the third answer that concerns us here at Smart Arts, in particular what these updates mean for our clients and what we need to implement in order to keep their web sites performing well on SERPs (Search Engine Results Page).[BREAK]

But first, if you’re not already familiar with Penguin and Panda, here’s a brief synopsis:

Panda: Officially rolled out in February 2011, but now on Panda 3.7, this update cracked down on sites with thin, stolen or duplicate content, as well as sites with a high ad-to-content ratio.

Penguin: Released earlier this year, this algorithm puts tighter guidelines on website optimisation and adjusted a number of web spam factors, including keyword stuffing, cloaking, unnatural links and content spinning.

Google guru and head of Google’s web spam team, Matt Cutts, is keen to reassure people that neither Panda or Penguin should be seen as penalties, more their way of making the web a better place by weeding out those who use black-hat tactics to increase seo, and rewarding those who concentrate on having quality content and links on their site.

So what should you do to ensure you don’t fall foul of Penguin?

  1. Clean house. Analyse your site and try to remove any low-quality back-links e.g. paid for links.
  2. Focus on keywords. With Penguin you still need keywords in place, but not as every other word. When writing content for your site have your keywords in mind so they come across in a natural manner. If you force them in, it will look unnatural and sound wrong.
  3. Title tags: Put your most important keyword first, but make sure it’s relevant to the content on that particular page.
  4. Build content: Having great, relevant content will never be a bad thing, and, as well as on site, you have to generate off-site content that drives people back to your site (in a natural way of course!). How to do this - blog, pr, articles/whitepapers. Building great content is a time-consuming task, but it is one of the most beneficial so worth investing in.
  5. Listen to the web master: By this I mean Webmaster Tools. They give us a wealth of information about how Google is reading your web site, so take advantage and address any issues that are thrown up.

So what’s next for Google?  At a recent seo conference I attended, one expert aired his view that Google’s aim was ultimately to deliver just one, perfect search result, and they would continue to update their algorithms until they achieved this.

Personally I doubt this will ever be the case, people like some level of choice, however I do believe that Google is striving to provide ever more accurate and relevant search results, so it stands to reason that having accurate and relevant content on your site can only be viewed favourably.

Whatever happens, we will keep you up to date here - whether that’s Puffin, Zebra or maybe even Skunk!

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