If you’re at all into SEO, I’m sure by now you’ve heard of the “Google Panda Updates.”
But what does this all mean for bloggers and also Internet Marketers? Will Panda affect you and your blog? What do you need to know to stay clear of a Panda attack?
Understanding the Basics of Panda
The whole idea of Google Panda is to make the best experience possible for Google users. To do that, Google wants to serve up only the best and most reliable content to the user as quick as possible, which typically means the best and most useful results are first. Obviously, this means they need to do a really good job at determining which web pages (and sites) have both relevant and reliable content (as I have previously noted here.
But that’s not enough if you want to survive a panda encounter…
Your content has to read well and be more than just reliable, it needs to be useful to people.
Also, the writing is all over the wall when it comes to social media and SEO. Not only has Google said they are now using social media as heavy indicators to a site’s reliability/credibility, but Facebook pages are now appearing in search and Google has launched a HUGE social media style corner on the web which you may of heard of, Google Plus.
So how do you give Panda a hug?
Concentrate on the user’s experience.
The site you create or the article you write ideally should be so awesome that people would want to share it with others online (FB share or Like, Tweet, Pin It, etc.). This really is nothing new. It’s what Google has been after since they first started their search engine, they are just getting better every day at figuring out which sites online are these kinds of sites (and articles).
Your site should also be structured well and be easy to navigate, once again concentrating on the user’s experience and not your money making plans. Yes you can have a plan to make money, just make sure the user comes first.
Good Site Structure
Some basic ideas on what makes up a well structured site include sites which have:
- Home, About Us, Privacy, Contact, and Disclaimer pages
- Categories for articles
- More than just one page, especially if it’s just a landing/sales page
- Logically designed for the user experience
On Target Onsite SEO
From what many SEO testers and experts are saying, Google is putting less weight on anchor text used for backlinks and more weight on onsite SEO factors and usefulness of content. I don’t know how Google’s algorithm can figure out if your content is rock solid and kicks ass, but it appears to know how so I just go with it.
Stay away from keyword stuffing and all that crap. Just optimize your onsite SEO as best you can and make it all look natural.
Panda and Bloggers
I think most people who blog and really care about what they are blogging about won’t have to worry much about Panda deindexing or penalizing their blog. The exception to that might be if you do a TON of reviews and have a number of affiliate links on your site. If that’s the case, be cautiously aware that Google wants to see your blog more for the user rather than for your making money for myself plan.
Trust me, I tested this once with my Nevada incorporations website and had it filled with both useful content and also a lot of affiliate links (like maybe links to 20 products or so).
The result was my site got deindexed from Google… or at least was not in the top 100 pages for any of the search terms I was ranking for. My analytics graph looked like a cliff dive in just one day.
I fixed it by simply removing 98% of the affiliate links (and did no other SEO to the site) and it has since regained its search engine placement. In fact, it ranks #1 for the “different types of corporations” and #4 for “types of corporations”, which is pretty big. If I can get it to rank for “asset protection”, my plans are to flip it for some $$, but that’s another topic all together.
The moral of that story is to watch out how many affiliate links you are sticking on your blog. As always, I recommend using the rel=”nofollow” tag on all your affiliate links.
Panda and Internet Marketing
There’s a huge difference, in my eyes, between being a regular blogger and an Internet Marketer who is looking to make a full time income online.
I’m sort of both, which is why my blog posting frequency sucks. I know some bloggers/IMs can do it all, but I don’t have a huge passion for writing when I really don’t have something to say for which I’m not passionate about. When I do, like this topic here, I love to write and express myself… in fact it’s hard to get me to shut up.
But my real passion is in researching online and finding little corners on the web where I can brainstorm ideas on how to make money in that niche and then put my team together to work the plan. That to me is fun and rewarding (both personally and monetarily).
The difference between a blogger and full time Internet Marketer
Put simply, a full time Internet Marketer plots and plans out how they are going to make money online, just like how a real estate investor plans out how to find investment properties, how much money they will need to invest, and determine their ROI. And then of course, they work the plan.
Though I’ve done no study, I highly doubt bloggers who might be thinking they are pursuing making a full time income online but really aren’t (through their actions) are actually working the plan the way full time Internet Marketers do.
There are lots of ways to be a blogger and Internet Marketer, for me, I build mini niche authority sites aside from my blog here.
This poses a few issues with my Internet Marketing style and Google Panda.
I own somewhere around 40 domains and have or am building them to be mini authority sites. I simply can’t run and manage 40, 60… 200 social media accounts and spend hundreds of hours building my “personal” authority in a niche. That’s like telling the real estate investor that they have to work every aspect of their business themselves (paint, deal with tenants, find properties, taxes, education, etc.).
I also have to look at ways to build backlinks and social media chatter about the sites as well. That’s easy to do if you just own a blog, but if you own 100 websites, you have to start thinking in other ways… like outsourcing.
This is kind of like sailing in rough waters with Google. It’s not impossible, but more difficult to do. I suspect (and I say “suspect” because this whole Panda thing is still relatively new) that as long as you keep your focus on the user and also keep in mind what Google is wanting from you, you should be good. The trick of course is figuring out what works best and is the most efficient way.
Niche Internet Marketing and Ranking Websites
In the days before my IM journey began, it was much easier to rank niche websites. You could go out and find exact match domain names and run a SEnuke and ScrapeBox campaign and see your first page rankings come in.
Google is getting smarter every day and they aren’t telling us everything they know and do. Gone are the days of simply scraping content and creating tens of thousands of low quality and irrelevant backlinks to help rank your site and in are the days of actually doing a little more work to make money (thank goodness).
Well, almost gone are they…
There’s a lot of buzz going around about how exact match domain names are not as easily ranked as they use to be. Since my real drive in niche marketing has only begun over the last year or so, it’s hard for me to give you my “past” experience, but what I can say is how my exact match domain names are ranking now based off of the name alone.
It really boils down to competition, but for the most part exact match domain names are helpful, but not super important.
An Example Site I Created and Exact Match Domain Names
As an example, I just set up a site for my wife called Zulily Reviews. It’s not 100% finished yet but after researching the competition I found that the average PageRank on the first page of Google was super low (which means it should be easy to rank for).
Here’s how easy it was to get that site ranked on the first page of Google.
After registering the exact match domain name for my given keyword, I immediately set up a basic text only HTML document with an optimized Title tag, description tag, and one h1 tag. I wrote one sentence stating what Zulily is and one sentence stating the site will be live real soon.
That’s it. No graphics… nothing.
A couple days later I noticed it was ranked #10 for the keyword. I had not done any backlinking, social bookmarking… nothing. The site ranked based solely on its domain name and optimized onsite tags. That’s it.
Again though, the competition is super low, so this probably wouldn’t of happened had the competing web pages had stronger PageRank.
One thing to note if you’re on the first page for your given keyword term. I’ve heard that Google has human reviewers who review some of the 1st page listing to make sure they are quality stuff. Obviously the temporary site I put up for Zulily was not “quality” or reliable, so it’s best if you do this to quickly fix up your site or article fast because once you lose that first page listing, it’s harder to get back there.
If you’re an Internet Marketer and have been doing some testing, I’d love to hear some of your results. I’m doing a lot of testing myself and will be publishing very soon (in my newsletter) what services I’m using and what’s working for me and what’s not. I’ll also mention what is working now but I fear won’t be soon.
Have you been testing SEO? What’s working for you? When Google said recently that they “are turning off a method of link analysis that we used for several years”, what do you think they were referring to? Anchor text? Nofollow?