Every time Google makes a significant change in their algorithm, website owners and SEOs freak out, and not without a reason: if you make a living out of your website, and the most significant single source of traffic is Google’s organic search results, then any change they make to their algorithm could potentially impact your rankings, for good or bad.
The most recent update, called “Panda Update” by Google’s team, was targeted towards cleaning up their results, by decreasing the relevancy of pages hosted by content farms, commonly used by SEOs in marketing techniques such as Article Marketing, which works by piggybacking authority from other websites to have your content rank for your targeted search terms, this content usually contains links to your website as well. The content is then usually republished by other webmasters, which increases the number of incoming links to your website. This content is published in your own website or not, depending on your preference.
While this technique is completely legitimate, it’s major pitfall is making Google think its author / owner is the initial republishing website, lets say Ezinearticles.com. See, in Google’s eyes the first website where this content is found is the “owner”, subsequent pages found containing this content are then filtered from search engine result pages for your chosen terms. Therefore if you write an article and get it published in Ezinearticles.com before that it appears in your website, then if and when you decide to publish it in your own website, it will be filtered as a duplicate. In this particular case:
You would be building someone’s website and not your own
In the case EzineArticles its punished by Google, which happened in the Panda update, then you would also lose -if any- rankings that web page had, and be left with nothing.
A quick fix to this hypothetical situation is to publish your content in your website first, and once this page gets indexed, submit it to Ezinearticles for republishing and syndication.
But not only Article Marketing was affected by Google’s Panda Update, online retailers who rely on vendor supplied content, such as data feeds have also suffered. The easy fix? Write unique content for your product’s descriptions. This is easier said than done, especially for online retailers who have hundreds or thousands of items in their catalog, this task could be very daunting.
But what if we asked our own website visitors to help us build unique content? Well, we could do this in a subtle way. Your customers could help you by providing content in the form of:
- Ratings and Reviews
- Wish lists
- Supplying pictures or videos of them using your product
- Questions and answers
Be aware that user-generated content will need to be monitored by you or someone in your staff, or maybe this is a task that you could outsource.
In order to make user-generated content and efficient task, you will need to implement automated solutions that will work for you. Think twice, do once is the motto here. Depending on the platform your website was built, you will have different options available to you.
In future posts we will be reviewing some solutions and providing with best practices for their implementations.
Now, go ahead and review your website, analyze where and how you could improve the quality of the content provided, is it useful for your customers? Does it help them with their purchasing decision? When was the last time your content was updated?
Lots of websites have lost rankings due to the “Farmer Update”. Most of them will sit on it and just look for the next SEO trick to implement. Very few will act on it, audit their content and make sure it is unique, useful and updated in a consistent basis, making their website a real resource for their target consumer, gaining relevancy to Google’s eyes and therefore improving their chances of a better ranking in Google Search Engine Results.
This is the ultimate Google SEO “trick” you will have to learn. 🙂