Marketers might have noticed their search rankings fluctuating as of late. This is a symptom of continual Panda updates, which are now part of Google’s regular indexing process, according to Search Engineer Matt Cutts. In the latest Webmaster Help Channel video, Cutts offers SEOs advice for winning top SERP positions or recovering from downgrades if their sites were hit by the Panda algorithm. Create custom content that’s useful, original and enjoyable to read, he says.
Panda targets poor-quality digital content, so brands’ rankings might be affected if their pages contain information that’s duplicated elsewhere on the site, scraped or combed from another source, Cutts explained.
Unhelpful content triggers Panda attack
However, waning SEO results might be owed to content creation flaws that are even more subtle. Panda also punishes domains if users find the information unhelpful or misleading. High bounce rates, low time on site and meager clickthrough rates are signs visitors don’t find the information useful. If marketers see these types of numbers in their content analytics reports, they should consider ways to revamp their content-writing strategy with more engaging materials.
Panda also punishes domains if users find the information unhelpful or misleading.
It’s crucial for brands to get on page 1 of Google SERPs to stay visible online. Handling nearly two-thirds of all queries performed by U.S. consumers, Google is the dominant search engine, and domains listed on the first page of results receive 95 percent of all clicks, Brafton previously reported. Marketers who fail to get their pages on Page 1 or 2 drastically reduce their brands’ chances of generating leads and fueling conversions.
High-quality content now the standard
Perhaps more importantly, Cutts suggests that content quality will only become more important for search rankings.
“If you are not ranking as highly as you were in the past … it’s always a good idea to think about, OK, can I look at the quality of the content on the site?”
“That would be the overriding goal and since Panda is now integrated with indexing, that remains the goal of our entire indexing system. So, if you are not ranking as highly as you were in the past … it’s always a good idea to think about, OK, can I look at the quality of the content on the site?”
Corporate blogs and news articles must have a bigger purpose than plugging brands’ products and services. If marketing collateral does not give readers innate value and provide them with a reason to return, it will eventually be edged out of search results by sites that offer better user experiences.