A couple of days ago Google confirmed, via Matt Cutt’s Twitter account, that the GOOG has rolled out Panda 4.0, their newest search algorithm update.

Matt Cutts Panda 4.0

In case there’s some out there who doesn’t know who Matt is, he the head of the Google Web Spam Team that manages the search engine algorithm, and the defacto ‘voice of the GOOG’.

Google has always been open about its agenda: “…to prevent sites with poor quality content from working their way into Google’s top search results.”

In other words, Google wants to remain as relevant as ‘in’-humanly possible, ensuring that anyone who use the search engine get the BEST answers they’re looking for.

But to get to the point, what does this mean to you,  the average SME business, who rely on having their website info found by organic searches on Google? Well the Monkeys have read a LOT about this in the last 48hrs…

We know that it’s way too early to tell you how this particular Panda Update is going to affect your sites rankings specifically, because there are always winners and losers with each GOOG update.

Panda What?

Of all the updates rolled out, The Panda was designed to particularly deal with, and they reckon eliminate, any SEO value of:

  1. duplicate content
  2. short content posts or pages

This is not new news for anyone of course and it means there are a few simple things to focus on to make sure your content stays Panda-friendly throughout all of these GOOG updates.

Avoid duplicate content

So is this a shock to anyone in this modern day, REALLY?

Simply put, avoid any and all duplicate content within your site and just don’t bother copying any content from any other website.

Produce Unique Content

You really do have to create your own unique, high quality content. The Flying Monkeys  spend hours when building websites trying to convince clients of the importance of this. Everyone has to concentrate and write original and interesting posts/pages that people would actually enjoy reading. (sounds simple but that’s the basis of all GOO’s aims!)

Make it Long Enough!

Now this has stretched out step by step. A few years ago 300-400 words was a ‘good’ length page. Nowadays we need to keep articles a minimum of 600 words! That’s a big jump when you have to write it yourself… Also ensure you use videos and images as much as possible on each page . (need we see that you should be loading and streaming your videos from YouTube?)

Follow  the (now normal!) simple SEO steps and make sure that every page have unique title tags and meta descriptions. If there are duplicates you NEED to rewrite each individual one. Yes a lot of work, but you want traffic to your website yes?

So What Now? What do u DO?

Actually if you have been following the simple SEO and GOOG Webmaster rules, the Flying Monkeys are snickering in the trees, because this kind of thing doesn’t harm any of their sites.

Not to say we’re ignoring it, that would be just bananas…But all it does mean is that website owners, who want to win the “Search Engine Wars” against their competitors, have to take a long hard look at their online marketing.

Here’s a few simple pointers, and yes you can gloat if you have these covered 🙂

Update your Website’s Engine

Now out WordPress 3.9 “Smith”
Update you website

The simple first step would be to ensure that you website is simply up to date, and runs well on all our modern browsers.

If your clients and website visitors can’t read your content, it just won’t matter how good you are on a Google search, your ‘bounces’ will be through the roof!

Instead of chasing the latest craze in phrases and keywords, your posts should have useful content (that is: content that answers a question on Google).

Your website NEEDS to be updated often. Not correcting mistakes on a page, or spelling mistakes. New content as in new news posted as new posts. Your RSS should be firing regularly!

Mobile is King

In case you have been in a bubble, more and more people are looking at websites on mobile devices rather than computers.

If you have not upgraded to a “responsive” design (not just compliant or compatible), now is for sure the right time.

Check Google thinks You’re Behaving

I feel pretty silly having to say this but you need to make sure your website conforms to Google’s Webmaster Guidelines and regularly check your Google Analytics.

And we’re not just talking about chasing those numbers and  checking to see how many clicks you are getting, but to more simply to see if there are any problems with the ‘mechanics’ of your website.

Yes really, they just go ahead and TELL you, pretty simple and pretty cool huh? This bit isn’t a mystery!

Content

Publish news and special deals…  as often as you can! Each post is actually a whole NEW web page. In other words, a new item not only adds fresh content to your website, but lets you to explore each marketing angle of your business and publish useful information with the keywords and phrases that your target audience will be searching for (hoefully if you’ve done any research, lol!).

Social

Google has published many times that they incorporate what they call “social signals” as part of their search algorithms. I think you’d have to be thick not to think that the GOOG sees all and that Google knows when/what/how often you post to social networks (yes all of them even the ones you ‘think’ are private), and especially when other people like or comment on those posts.

Google-Plus
Is it too obvious? Publish on G Plus!

Use Google+

Adding your posts and pages, including social posts and news posts, to Google+ should just be a “no brainer,” but it amazes us how many people seem to disregard this place. its stunning how many people spend time and money promoting their websites and just forget about posting here saying “we don’t like it personally”.

Lets all remember that this is a MAJOR investment for Google, and more of the a Google-verse is getting tied up in it  (just like YouTube we mentioned above), and they for sure pay attention to it. Isn’t it obvious that they are kinda vested in it?

The GOOG Bottom Line…

The simple bottom line is that websites that give their potential clients the best online experience will win this search engine war war.

Having a functional, well-designed website, (think mobile people!) updated often with useful content, regularly publishing news (new pages), and simply socially engaging with clients on the social networks will keep clients AND the GOOG as happy campers.

And have no illusion there will be many more versions of the Panda in the future…

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