Panda hit. And it punished. And if you were one of those who felt it’s wrath, your website may have dove deep into the rankings. Many SEOs took to the blogosphere protesting the bold move by Google. Many small websites suddenly lost their only way to get noticed… or so they thought.
Even at Jacob Tyler, we were a a bit stumped. But as I had mentioned before, Google needed to do something because search results were beyond polluted with spammy results.
If you’re new to the ever-changing world of SEO and the word Panda only revokes images of cute, fuzzy, black and white bears chomping on bamboo, then make sure to check out this blog post on the Panda update and then click back because you will want to read the following few paragraphs. If you are already clued in, keep reading…
Ok, here we are. The online world post Panda. Yes, the Panda update was undoubtedly frustrating if article marketing was your gig. But don’t get mad, get innovative. Get social. Get helpful. Get user-friendly.
I think it’s safe to say that pretty much everyone is aware that social media marketing is used by nearly 3/4 of businesses nowadays. Your local pet shop is on Facebook. Farmer’s Markets. Heck, even your dentist probably has a Twitter account. Well yeah, that’s great and all but what does this mean for SEO?
What’s happened is that major search engines like Google and Bing have taken note. In fact, they started to take note awhile ago. Matt Cutts, the head of Google’s Webspam team released a statement that Google does in fact take social signals into account for ranking. But this doesn’t just mean having a bunch of Twitter followers is going to get you better rankings on Google. They do take into account who these followers are, how reputable they are and how they behave on social networks. If you have fans and followers that are reputable, trustworthy, actual human beings as opposed to robots, and are active online, it will do you some good. In fact, SEO-wise, it will do you a lot of good.
SEO efforts post Panda should be focused nearly 90% on being actively social both on and offline. Google hit the content farms because it now longer trusted the authors. Google does trust the kind of word-of-mouth leveraging that social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Yelp and YouTube provide. So get involved, if you haven’t already. And do not merely create a Facebook page and let it sit there. Engage with the community online. Ask questions, talk to your fans, give them content and links that they might enjoy. Do not just blatantly advertise your business. Make your social profiles as beneficial to the user as possible.
While it has not being openly discussed by Google, there is quite a bit to go by to believe that Google ranks sites on how user friendly they are. If your site load time is slow, search engines and users won’t like the website. But even more, make sure that your links are not just going to other pages on your site, but also out to other sites as well. If you read a great article from the New York Times about shopping habits, and you are writing a blog post about it, link out to that article. It won’t affect your page rank – in fact it may help to improve it because Google likes that you are enhancing the user’s experience.
Think outside the box when it comes to helping better the user’s experience. Create a YouTube channel and post relevant videos. Then, link to and from your website.
Don’t forget about good ol’ PR. Join networks like HARO (Help A Reporter Out), to receive daily emails where you can send a pitch to a reporter on a story that may be related to your type of business. If they decide to use you. you get incredible exposure very quickly.
Invest in doing blogger outreach as often as possible. Look out into the blogosphere and find people who are talking about the same things you are talking about. Comment on their blog entries. And when you comment, make sure you don’t sound like a robot advertising your site. Ask questions, give feedback on the entry, give additional helpful info. Your goal should be to establish a healthy relationship with bloggers in your industry. You not only will stay in the loop about certain trends and topics, but you may also be asked to guest post on occasion, thus resulting in increased exposure.
There’s no need to feel lost from the Panda update. In fact, you should feel relieved. You can focus your time now on things that are more enjoyable. Things like conversing with followers in your industry, helping people, reaching out and connecting with others, bettering the web and bettering the user’s experience overall.
Long story short. The SEO world post Panda is social – both on and offline. Get talking. Start making relationships. And get going already…