Google isn’t out to get anyone.
It wants to provide the best search results possible for its users. We’ve known that for ages.
It’s a business after all, and so many small start-ups have used Google as part of their strategy to become global phenomenons.
eBay is one of them. But last week Google released version 4.0 of its content algorithm Panda, with scores of websites seeing rankings fluctuations across the board.
Google is rolling out our Panda 4.0 update starting today.
— Matt Cutts (@mattcutts) May 20, 2014
One of those sites was auction giant eBay which saw a massive 80 per cent reduction in its search results across Google.
Spammy content, you may think. Panda was released, after all, as a content indicator that downgrades websites that may not be publishing the quality content that searchers deserve.
eBay relies massively on its Google results to snare people searching for particular items. Being highly placed in results for a number of items has been a cornerstone in the company’s strategy for years.
Only, eBay wasn’t hit by Google Panda according to some sources, and instead was punished by the search engine with a manual penalty.
The theory goes that because the entire site wasn’t penalised and only certain pages were then Google has taken exception to something eBay has been doing. What though we don’t know as both parties are keeping schtum…
What’s beyond doubt is that Google isn’t happy and hasn’t been afraid to flex its muscles and show the big boys that there’s somebody even bigger in the playground.
Have you been affected by Google Panda 4.0? How so, and what are you going to do about it? Let me know in the comments below.
Cornering the market with creativity
Whatever the story with eBay it isn’t the only website that has taken a battering from Google.
Some large brand names that are licking their wounds include ask.com, yellowpages.com, and even retailmenot.com – an arm of Google Ventures.
And what about those sites that did well? You can’t move on the internet or social media without seeing an article from BuzzFeed. Their unique take on modern journalism has seen them win favour with Google, while recruitment website Glassdoor has also seen a massive jump.
When I look at the websites doing well I can’t help but think back to Matt Cutts and his video from a few weeks ago.
Google’s head of Webspam, possibly with this Panda update in mind, stressed the need for creative marketing and for smaller companies to think for themselves and try new things when taking on established sites.
Strategically these sites have seen a gap in the online market and are filling it with a quality content complemented by an impressive user experience that can’t be found anywhere else.
Quality content… how do you define it? And if you’re in the business of publishing it then how valuable has it been for you? Let me know below!
Maximising the message
The warning signs have been there for a few years now in regard to Panda and quality content. The first algorithm update back in 2011 may have seemed like a shock but was well in line with Google’s commitment to quality.
Those sites that reorganised themselves and spent time to construct quality content for the benefit of their users are reaping the rewards for their creativity and showing growth.
But this latest roll-out shows that so many brands – no matter their size – are still concentrating on nothing more than high rankings, whether through link spam, mass content construction with quality that falls by the wayside, and other black-hat tricks.
But not everyone has the time to construct quality content or stick to a content construction schedule, which is why it’s often a good idea to outsource to somebody that can work to get your company’s voice out there.
There are all sorts of ways to construct content that strikes a chord with unique visitors and users that make a point of visiting your site on a regular basis.
But, to me, the one core aspect of successful content is to make it as honest and as transparent as possible if you’re making it to spread word of your brand far and wide.
Honesty is the best policy
What do I mean by honesty, though?
Well, think of a small, local corner shop. Which of these content strategies sounds the best for them – talking about the price of the cereals they sell or posts that engage with the local community and the stories they have to share?
I’ll always go with the latter. It generates human interest and encourages interaction. Of course content advertising what you sell needs to be there too, so long as its complemented by content that matters and affects your visitors.
Content from the heart is always content that hits home and is the most relatable to people.
Content is all about customer interaction, though. Content alone can’t convince people to go through your payment channels and make a purchase through your website. Other factors such as price, delivery time, and other retail tropes come into it.
Be honest with your content and use that as a step to influence the rest of your site. Be honest in your product descriptions, provide clear and crisp photos of the items your selling, and make your website better to use than your competitors.
An honest, transparent voice paired with a brilliant user experience and clear, creative strategy is the best way to gather fantastic search rankings. Even Google recommends it.
Be proud of yourself, your business and your website. Your website has to work for you as another revenue channel.
It has to be a magnet for leads and attract the right targeted audience. One of the best ways of doing that is shouting about yourself in the right ways through the power of content marketing.
Contact Webpresence now to find out more about Google, its habits, and how search engine marketing can grow your brand.