Google is moving SEO to the next stage with Panda 4.0 – are you?

 You will by now have heard of the latest algorithm changes which google has rolled out via its Panda and Penguin updates….maybe it’s still boring to be writing about these but let’s face it, google search is not insignificant in the context of our daily lives; quite the opposite in fact, it is a hugely powerful force in determining how we purchase goods and services, which ones we purchase, and from which sites we purchase them.

The good news with the latest changes, which the famous Matt Cutts announced casually over twitter back in May of this year, is that they really help to simplify SEO and drill down into what exactly a good website is. For a long time, SEO seemed to be the focus of all marketers’ efforts, above even content and user navigation. Essentially, for quite a while, obtaining an excellent google search engine ranking was almost scientific and came down to the skill of the site managers, as much as it did to the actual content that the site provided.

Suffice to say, google has now shifted its policy in relation to SEO to some degree through this latest Panda update. Now, content is even more important than before, and google now favours original, fast changing content, excellent website interface and userability, and relevant content that is useful for the person conducting the search. Yes, SEO is still a very important part of improving ones overall site ranking, but it one part of a larger puzzle as opposed to an end in itself.

To help highlight the benefits of the latest Panda update, here are a few little points to take on board – if you have been living under a rock or have decided that you have had enough of Pandas and Penguins….

1. Make your site content original and interesting 

Google now wants to reward sites that are genuinely interesting and informative, and not just those that simply adhere to SEO rules in order to make it popular with google.

2. Continue to perform your SEO as before 
Although content and originality is a big part of google’s latest update, no one is for one minute suggesting that you stop doing what you are doing and no one is saying that SEO is no longer important. It is and you still need to tend to the SEO housekeeping, to ensure that your site is still well structured and readable. What I am saying really is that SEO should no longer be the sole obsession for your site’s maintenance and should be just one part of your overall strategy.

3. Engage your audience 
Google now wants your site to show a human side in appealing to people seeking a good online experience in whatever it is they are searching for. Human to human, H2H, is the latest buzz word in marketing but when you break it down it makes simple sense. All this means is that your site must be interesting for humans who visit it – ie you now simply have to write content that is well crafted, interesting, unique, and written in a readable style as opposed to for the purpose of ticking the box for SEO requirements.

4. Continue to develop inbound links (though not obsessively) 
Again, what google is stressing here is that while it is still ok to focus on developing one’s inbound site traffic, it should be done as part of a holistic site development strategy. By all means continue to drive traffic to your site through social media, video sharing, blog posting etc, but whatever you do, make your content interesting and relevant and always provide unique and informative content….as opposed to doing it just because google says it’s a good thing to do!

5. Focus on providing good content and Panda 4.0 can become your friend!
It is easy to get caught up in thinking that Panda and google are out to get you; they’re really not and
in actual fact, google is now trying to ensure that good content over goof SEO is what generates higher rankings. So, while you now must invest time and resources into your website, in order to keep it fresh and interesting, google is really only making you do what you should be doing yourself anyway!

Contact @thedigitalzoo on twitter for thoughts and comments!