We all learned a lot after this year’s Google Panda updates. Some site owners felt vindicated by finally seeing their efforts at legitimate SEO paying off. Others were punished severely in the SERPs for grey and black hat tactics. Google Panda is kind of forcing site owners and managers to be good marketers. Let’s look back at the year’s Google Panda updates and see how we can leverage them to be better marketers.
February 2011: Panda Cracks Down on Content Farms
Google launched its Panda update in February that targeted sites with content that was spammy low quality and littered with ads. This update affected a whopping 12% of searches.
Lesson: Marketing is about writing for people again. Instead of creating spammy keyword dense content you get to do market research talk to users on social networks and craft personas. Marketers and site owners can leverage this update by finding out what their audience wants to read and addressing those issues in a helpful way.
In March Google’s algorithm started to consider social sharing more heavily than it did in the past. This obviously coincided with their development of the +1 button Google’s attempt to get back into the social world.March 2011: Google Launches +1 and Incorporates Social Sharing Into the Algorithm
Lesson: Marketers that have a great social media presence or are trying to make the case for one can use this algorithm update to justify social media for marketing. Marketers who are new to the social media game can also start on an even playing field with Google+ Business Pages because they’re brand spanking new.
August 2011: Google Displays Expanded Site Links
Google launched expanded site links to help users pinpoint what they’re looking for on a site despite a vague search phrase.
Lesson: By making the benefits of each page crystal clear you’ll help searchers figure out what they were looking for when they typed in your name. By optimizing the expanded site links and the pages they lead to you’ll get more visibility for and conversions on those important pages that you want people to visit.
For users logged in while performing a Google search search referral data is no longer passed to the destination site that the user clicks. In other words site owners can’t tell what keywords someone searched to get to their website if the searcher was logged in to Google.October 2011: Google Begins Encrypting Search Queries
Lesson: Not all of the Google’s algorithm updates have helped marketers.
November 2011: Google’s Algorithm Now Rewards Freshness of Content Impacting 35% of Search Queries
Most recently Google’s algorithm has been updated to reward fresh and timely content impacting a whopping 35% of searches.
Lesson: When a change occurs people want to know.Google+, SEO, social media marketing