On July 22 it was announced that the latest version of Panda – Google’s algorithm concerned with on-site quality – was starting to pound the highways and byways of the internet. However, Panda 4.2 (or the 28th, 29th or 30th update depending on who you talk to) is likely to take months to roll out, meaning you might not be aware of its bear strength for some time. If you have a website with poor or ‘thin’ content your search rankings would have been hit a long time ago as this was initially rolled out in 2011… and that, readers, makes me feel old!
If you have been hit and need a recovery plan or for those who are new to this website and search malarkey, here are a few tips and tricks you should be thinking about when it comes to your pages and content strategy. Nonetheless, whatever changes you begin to make to your site, you should not expect to shoot up the rankings in a couple of days, you may have to wait until the next Panda update for things to readjust.
- Are you content with your content?
While it may sound strange to say ‘have some content’, I can assure you there are many sites still out there with a couple of pages that really don’t say much about the business it belongs to. Possibly with good reason, but Pandas don’t care about your reasons. If you offer services, describe them, go in to detail. If you have products, what are the specifications, benefits, costs? One or two sentences won’t cut the mustard, so get creative and really think about what clients or customers might want to know.
- Get chatty with your news and views.
Ensure you have a blog section where you can create even more content relevant to your company and its audience. This doesn’t mean you have to populate it every day, or even every week (eek, it’s over 4 weeks since we wrote a post) but it’s a wonderful platform on which to show off your industry knowledge and business updates as well as satisfying those hungry Panda content cravings. Other benefits include: posts could bring traffic direct from search engines, they might be shared across social media by readers and they become fodder for you to share on your own social pages. Provide people with something attention-grabbing, thought-provoking, educational, useful or funny (or all of the above like the very post you’re reading), and make sure it’s well-written to reap rewards.
- You can’t dupe Panda.
If you’re being lazy and doing too much cutting and pasting, or if you have duplicate pages for ‘search purposes’ – for example, services in Manchester, services in Leeds, services in Sheffield – get your writing cap back on. Duplicate content is like a red rag to a Panda and your site will be targeted. Your clients or customers are likely to get bored too and it doesn’t give such a good impression to prospects. Remember, you want to provide readers with a rich experience and illustrate authority on your industry or subject.
- Don’t fall down on structure.
You wouldn’t decide to build a new office without thinking about foundations, construction methods and using the right material so why would you do that for your business’ virtual bricks and mortar. Create your website with lots of common sense. Unfortunately, if this hasn’t been done, it might be time for you to start again. A clear folder structure, with parent and child pages that have obvious relationships, is a must and ensure the folders (the /XXX/XXX in your URLs) are named with some logic and consistency. Evaluate your site for empty folders too, as well as broken links and blank pages, a spring clean is healthy any time of year.
- Practice your best practice.
Optimisation is still very important, and by that I don’t mean keyword stuffing, creating pages to try and hoodwink search engines or fiddling with deceptive content. Basic SEO is just basic website housekeeping while still colouring within the lines of Google’s guidelines. Have page titles that make sense and are of the right length, make sure your meta descriptions are going to do their job in the rankings pages and entice users to click through and include image titles and ALT tags correctly. Semantic meaning is understood more and more by Google so write naturally using synonyms and think of your audience, not just the search bots.
If you need assistance with auditing your website, creating content, optimisation or building a new WordPress site, contact us and we’ll be happy to have a chat with you and make some informed recommendations.