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New Google Update: Will Your Website Rankings Suffer?

For more than a decade I have explained to business owners the importance of creating and maintaining good quality content for websites and blogs. I have additionally warned business owners that poor quality and duplicate content can hurt rankings on Google and other search engines. It seems that website owners should heed this advice now more than ever and consider a blog marketing service like Rank UP.  

You’ve probably already read about Google’s newest update to its primary search algorithm, referred to as the Panda update or the Google Farmer update. Google released a statement through its blog notifying website owners of a major change that has taken place in the way Google ranks results for queries - one it says will affect 11.8% of all searches they receive. This is a major difference compared to the small tweaks made continuously that typically go unnoticed. The update is meant to reduce the rankings of sites with low-quality content - sites that contain duplicate content, offer little value to users, or contain more ads than original content - while increasing the rankings for high-quality sites with original content, authoritative information, etc. This change was initially released in the US exclusively, but it will gradually spread across the Google globe as time goes on. Google’s goal is to provide users with the most relevant results as quickly as possible and Panda is meant to bring them one step closer to achieving their goal.

The Effects of Google Panda

Shortly after the Panda update went into effect, I was contacted by an MSI Marketing direct mail customer who asked me to explain why he had not only lost his number 1 rankings on Google, but why his website could no longer be found in related search results. After analyzing his website I found that a large portion of his web content was duplicate content. While high-quality content has always been important in regards to SEO, it is now more important than ever. Duplicate content will simply not be tolerated by Google any longer.

There are several online reports explaining how several high traffic and popular websites lost valuable online exposure within Google search results after the Panda update. Google is essentially demanding that websites create and update original, valuable content in order to stay in their good graces - something I have advocated from the beginning. 

Like the MSI direct mail client that contacted me regarding his sudden drop in rankings, I have noticed site owners everywhere expressing their unhappiness with the changes that have occurred as a result of Google Panda - complaining that their hard-earned rankings were downgraded for no reason or manually changed by Google. Matt Cutts, the principal engineer of Google's Search Quality Group, responded to this by saying, "There are many, many algorithms - maybe the majority of the algorithms - that don't have any exception logs." He stated that Panda is one of them. I think it’s important for website owners to realize that specific industries and websites have not been intentionally targeted or hit harder than others as a result of the change in rankings that Google Panda has ignited. Google Panda targets certain SEO practices above all else. Site owners need to acknowledge that Google Panda is simply objectively separating the high-quality sites with original content from those using poor SEO tactics and duplicate content. 

If you believe your site is being ranked low due to the Google Panda update, you may question what specific factors may have affected your website. Low-quality sites can be sites that plagiarize or duplicate content, use autoblogging, or are created solely for Adsense. Sites that are saturated with ads were hit hard by Google Panda. Site owners with websites covered in ads may want to reevaluate the number of ads they allow on their sites to avoid being pushed to the bottom of search results. If you have questions regarding web content and ad space on your website, MSI is a Sacramento SEO company that can assist you in making sure that your website does not continue to suffer as a result of Google Panda through our new Rank UP program, which I will discuss below. 

I’ve heard website owners questioning if such a drastic change - the Google Panda update - is necessary. This question immediately brings to mind one example in particular. Perhaps some of you read about the incident with where professionals responsible for the site’s search rankings found a way to create thousands of questionable links from other sites to theirs, boosting their search rankings to the top spots for many of the most popular clothing, home, and goods searches. Many sites have chosen in the past to go about acquiring high Google rankings without investing resources into creating quality content for SEO. I believe that Google Panda may remedy this issue in the future, forcing websites large and small to use ethical SEO practices by regularly publishing rich, unique content in everything from blogs to websites. 

I have also noticed that a number of site owners whose websites have dropped in rankings are taking to the media to express their frustration and surprise rather than accepting that the reasons for the dips are legitimate issues with their sites’ content. Press releases, blogs, and articles echo the same search engine woes over and over again. Rather than fighting what seems to be an inevitable and reasonable part of the future of SEO, site owners need to look forward and work to ethically increase their rankings based on the changes in web content criteria made through Google Panda. 

Moving Forward with SEO 

I recently read statistics reported by Forrester Research, which stated that 85% of enterprise marketers are currently using or plan to use SEO in the next year. I want to emphasize that it is important that website owners move forward with an understanding that original, high-quality content is one of the biggest components to successful SEO. I have seen many sites in the past that have gotten by using short, poorly written articles that have been patched together from other sites. This method will not go unnoticed by Google Panda. Website owners that wish to incorporate SEO into their sites in order to increase their Google rankings must invest in creating unique content - there is no other way.

I doubt many would deny that SEO has always been a significant factor when it comes to online visibility, but now that Google has changed the game, large and small companies that managed to achieve decent Google rankings without utilizing SEO are left wondering what to do next. In response to this growing need for quality content, MSI Marketing instituted the new Rank UP program. Through this program MSI Marketing will optimize the blog that currently exists on your company’s website or we will build a custom blog if your site does not already have one. Once your blog has been established, we will add original content to your blog and ensure that it is indexed with Google and other high-traffic search engines, directories, and websites. Rank Up will boost your website’s rankings by continually updating your blog with fresh, valuable content while also marketing your website content across the web. MSI Marketing’s Rank UP program has been created to help your website not only meet Google Panda’s strict web content criteria, but to help increase your website’s visibility everywhere.  

The Bottom Line

Now that you have a clearer understanding of the changes that have gone into effect due to Google Panda, I hope that it is more apparent than ever that SEO and high-quality content are ultimately some of the most important components to the success of your website. Though website owners may have managed to squeak by without investing in the content they published on their sites before now, that is a thing of the past.

It’s obvious that Google is a major force when it comes to online visibility and with Google Panda cracking down on poor web content, you don’t want to let your website lay buried at the bottom of search results. Whether you find your website’s rankings hurting as a direct result of Google Panda or you’re simply ready to invest in increasing your website’s visibility, MSI Marketing’s Rank UP Program is a great solution to a critical issue. SEO and search engine rankings are complex subjects and changes such as those made by Google Panda haven’t made matters simpler. Rather than struggling to determine how best to make your website search engine friendly, consult a knowledgeable marketing company such as MSI Marketing to assist and guide you towards better ranking results.

Whether you agree with the changes Google has brought about or not, the bottom line is that Google stands behind Google Panda and feels that this algorithm will bring them one step closer to their goal of providing internet users across cyberspace with the best and fastest search results on the web. Instead of fighting this change I think it’s a better use of your valuable time to simply embrace it and put your energy into transforming your website into a high-ranking, SEO-friendly site.

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