Early this year, in February, Google rocked the Internet when it updated its search algorithms and slapped down some very authoritative sites in their respective niches. Some of the biggest slap downs occurred in the article directory niche. The top article directories lost tons of rankings within minutes along with traffic and revenue. What happened?
The Panda Update, as it is called, was designed to target high profile sites with low quality content. And it did its job.
While the update was designed to target large sites, it also affected many smaller sites. Many sites with a large number of pages with just a little bit of content – even though that content followed Google’s quality guidelines – lost a lot of traffic when their low content pages fell sharply in the rankings. While we can question the fairness of the update, I would like to say for the record that I think the hype surrounding Panda since it was implemented has largely been unnecessary.
SEOs are coming out of the woodwork now to “educate” the rest of us how to ensure our sites aren’t affected by Panda and future similar updates. One author cautions that Google plans to add 550 “improvements” to the update.
Here’s why I think much of this is hype: Even if you followed Google’s guidelines, if you thought you were going to dominate the SERPs because you
- Added thousands of new pages with less than 200 words of content to your website;
- Included pages on your site that were optimized for the same keywords but that promoted different products;
- And relied solely on linkbuilding strategies to push your website up in the rankings despite its low quality content
then you weren’t really interested in producing the best content for your niche. And that’s what Google is looking for.
As a searcher, I want to know that I can Google a topic and receive a fair number of web pages near the top of the SERPs that are going to actually provide answers to my query. Low quality content pages don’t do that.
So the moral of this lesson is, Don’t chase the algorithms. Instead, focus on producing top quality content for your niche. If you do that, then you shouldn’t have to worry about being slapped down.