A few of my clients have been asking me about this issue, so here’s a quick post to talk about Google’s Panda update, who it affects and what it means in terms of search-engine optimization (SEO).
[Update] The first of several major updates to Google’s search algorithm, Panda was designed to weed out the growing number of link farms that have been propagating online.
You’ve likely hit one yourself while doing a search for something. They’re annoying and provide zero value when you’re searching for something.
Most of these sites use unscrupulous SEO methods of obtaining a high page ranking: a practice that benefits no one other than the owner of the site in question.
Broadly speaking, most businesses and writers with an online presence have very little to worry about with respect to adapting their website content in response to Panda.
That said, as matter of adhering to best practices when writing for the web, the following tips are now especially important to note, lest you be wrongly tagged as link farmer:
Proof your copy. Readers like to see that you have taken the time to get things done properly.
Be succinct but don’t be stingy. Each post should be something that can stand on its own for readability and topic detail.
Eliminate guesswork. Have a linking structure that is easy to understand at a glance.
Good links matter. Focus on obtaining quality backlinks that are directly related to what you are talking about. Links are like the friends you keep. People do judge you by who you hang out with.
Be evergreen. Update your content regularly. Stale websites look like lonely, empty restaurants.
Avoid duplicate content. This doesn’t just apply to pages within your site, but on the web, too. At very least, it looks sloppy. And at worse it makes you look shady.