Earlier this year, Google released a new algorithm change which is commonly known as the Panda update. This update uses a variety of metrics defined by human reviewers to figure out the level of quality that a site has. The introduction of this update makes it much harder for low-quality and scraper sites to rank in the SERPS and, as they tweak it to be more and more accurate, it will become even more so over time.
The bottom line is that in order for your website to benefit from organic search engine traffic in 2012, you going to have to step up the quality. Here are 5 tips for making a website that the Panda will love:
1. Take A Look At Your Site Design
One thing that human reviewers were instructed to look at is the design of the site to make sure that it is easy for the user to navigate. You want to be sure that you have the proper navigation bars at the top and along the side so that your visitors can easily find what they need.
Not only that, but you don’t want to load the site up with too many ads as this will give the appearance of a spamming site and may not pass a manual review. The general idea here is to have more content than ads on your site so that when people visit they can see your content first and foremost.
Finally, make sure that your site loads quickly. Site speed is a big part of the overall user experience and you don’t want people hitting the back button because it took too long for your page to load!
2. Beef Up Your Content
This year, it’s all about having good quality content that is useful to your visitor. That means you want to beef up some of your articles especially if they are short 350 word posts.
Another thing is to make sure that you don’t have more duplicate content than unique content. What I mean by that is that you want to make sure that the majority of the pages of your site are unique to your website. It’s okay to have a few other articles or YouTube videos that you have embedded on the site but don’t make your entire site content that can be found elsewhere on the Web.
3. Focus On Quality Backlinks
Another important thing to look at is the links pointing to your site. One sign of a good quality site is that they will have a lot of high-quality links pointing to it, so if your backlinking strategy has been to use mostly blog comments and profile links make sure you work at getting some better quality links like those you might find from guest blogging and offering your articles on high-profile human edited blogs.
If you focus on only posting superior quality, useful articles to your blogs, this will actually help with this as people will naturally link to your superior content.
4. Integrate Social Signals
If people are tweeting and liking your articles, it stands to reason that they find them useful and think they are of good quality. Therefore, you want to send people from the social sites to your articles in the hopes that they do just that. This is a big indicator to Google that people like your content because it’s very hard to fake these types of social signals. You can look for Google to be giving more weight to these in the future so it’s good to get a social presence now.
5. Make Sure Your Site Is Useful To Visitors
Quality is a key part of the the Panda update but even more important is to make sure that your site is useful to your visitors. A lot of people think that unique articles are all you need, but the fact is you also need to make sure that you are providing visitors with the information they seek, so you want to make sure the articles themselves have useful information. Things like bounce rate, the time visitors spend on your site and how many pages they look at can be measured through various toolbars as well as Google analytics and you can be sure that they will be including this in the metrics they use to decide where your site should rank.
Going forward, you should stop thinking about creating content for search engines and start thinking about creating it for your visitors. With this new Panda update, it can be harder and harder to use loopholes in the search engine algorithms to manipulate the way they rank your site. Google wants the best quality sites to rank the highest and their algorithms are quickly working towards being able to detect the quality of a site. So, if you want your site to rank high in the years to come you might as well just give Google what it wants. Who knows, you may find that it actually improves your number of repeat visitors as well as your conversion rates.
Lee Dobbins is a full time blogger specializing in various website promotion strategies. You can pick up her website promotion guide and spreadsheet for free which will give you a step by step plan based on the strategies she has used for the past 7 years to get free traffic to her websites.