Google Panda – 3 Months Later
Google Panda was a significant algorithm change done by Google on February 2011. According to Google, the main goal of this update was to identify low quality sites that may not provide the best experience for users.
The main target was sites known as “Content Farms”, or sites that publish user-submitted content, (done mostly for link building reasons), and don’t have the appropriate quality control, therefore publishing low quality content.
Since its launching, we’ve been monitoring high traffic sites to see how this change might affected them in terms of visits and page views.
Social Media Sites
As expected with the “Social Media Boom”, social networks such as Facebook, Twitter or Linkedin haven’t been struck in any way by this update, on the contrary, they have experimented increases on the number of page views during the last three months. For example, Facebook almost increase in 30% its number of page views.
Aligned with the increasing popularity of social networking sites, Yelp, the most visited user reviews site, has grown 22% in the last three months. This boost confirms that everyday consumers pay more attention to reviews and they are starting to play an important role during customers purchase decision process.
Article sites and content sharing sites, such as Associated Content, Ezine Articles, Buzzle or Hubpages have experienced a notable decrease in traffic. We analyzed 10 of the most visited sites in this category and the results revealed that in terms of page views, there had been an average fall of 25%.
Hence, if you rely mainly in article sites to get traffic to your website, it’s definitely the right time to start considering other sources of traffic or other marketing strategies to keep your website alive and to keep visitors coming.
Certainly, we can’t asseverate that all articles in all niches have been affected by the Google Panda update. Your business may be in a specific niche with a low or medium level of competition where your articles are still ranking and getting traffic. If so, you are in luck at least for now.
Conversely, we would like to make a particular comment about E-How since at the beginning this site wasn’t affected by the update and this fact generated a lot of controversy. As we can see in the Alexa graphic below, E-How finally got caught and there’s an important decrease in pageviews starting on April 2011.
Blog Publishing Sites
We also included in our analysis, blog sites such as, blogspot, wordpress and typepad and unlike Article Directories, they have increased in the amount of visitors and pageviews.
So, if you thought that blog marketing was an old-fashion strategy, you may be wrong. We believe that Google might be favoring blogs with good and fresh content that provide a high-quality users experience and they’re probably getting the traffic that content sharing sites lost.
So, here comes the obvious question: Has article marketing as an SEO strategy lost its efficacy?
Although Article Marketing has without a doubt lost some of its shine, we believe that it can still be an effective tool in some niches, when it’s done right.
But, what does “done right” entail?
Below we outline what we consider are the three most important points you need to consider in your article marketing plan.
1. Relevant and high quality content with perfect grammar: Google will see your article with “better eyes” and you may have the possibility that someone re-publish it, which will mean more links to your website.
2. Target long tail keywords: Although their search volume can be low, they can be much less competitive and you’ll have more chances to rank on the search engines and get some traffic.
3. Quality before Quantity: Focus your efforts in high quality sites. We believe that mass distribution to sites with doubtful quality may harm your site and your credibility instead of helping it. We recommend submitting your article only to sites with high traffic volume and good reputation.
That’s it for today’s post. Hope you find this information relevant and more important helpful for your online business. We are going to continue monitoring these sites and we’ll keep you updated of any new finding.
We’d love to hear what you think or about your own experience.
Have your articles been affected by Google Panda? Have you seen a decrease in their traffic?