Are you familiar with Panda, Penguin, Hummingbird, Pigeon, and Fred? They're Google algorithm updates that aim to improve search quality by targeting questionable websites and “low-quality” content. Depending on how content measures up, website search traffic can spike or drop precipitously with the release of these changes.
The algorithm dictates how Google finds, ranks, and returns relevant search engine results. The idea is to weed out “content farms,” spam or other junk copy, and reward content that is unique, useful and relevant to readers. A page should actually satisfy a query with accurate and engaging commentary—or it can get bumped down, resulting in a significant loss of web traffic for a company.
Search quality raters review pages to help determine whether the algorithms are working—and are instructed in a 164-page guideline manual to look for everything from misspellings and bad grammar to page loading time and fake customer reviews. They prioritize the expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness of the content. Medical advice should be offered by medical experts, satirical or humor sites should be entertaining, and article headlines should actually reflect the page content. For its algorithm, Google uses over 200 ranking factors.
Panda Doesn’t Like Poor Content
If Google’s algorithms aren’t reason enough to screen your content for quality, consider the experience of your readers. Do you really want to inject your brand into irrelevant searches, impairing people’s ability to reach the information they’re actually looking for? Do you want to trick your target audience into clicking on your site only to be disappointed by duplicate copy instead of creating a deeper connection with insightful commentary?
Quick Tips for Better Content
Google releases algorithm updates daily. But rather than get distracted by the various iterations of Panda, it’s better to focus on offering the best content possible, regardless of screening standard. Here are a few tips:
- Offer new insights and engaging perspectives when crafting blog content. In-depth analysis will always fare better than shallow commentary.
- Always research your topic to ensure you’re not simply repeating a viewpoint that’s been exhaustively aired. Look for openings in national debates—is there a void in the conservation you can address? Identify data and studies to cite.
- Consider a first-person narrative to share a personal experience or reveal a new side to your personality. Don’t, however, discount the value of research just because it’s a story about you—your perspective or opinion should still be well-informed.
- Proofread for misspellings, typos and grammatical errors. Make sure your content is factually accurate.
- Include external links to position your content as a reference point.
- Consider ways to generate new content, such as launching an online survey and writing about the results.
Strong content helps attract website visitors deeper into your marketing funnel. Learn more about how to turn visitors into leads and leads into customers with JConnelly's latest ebook: