How does Google 'Panda' effect SEO?

Digital

A few weeks back, we reported on a rather significant algorithmic update which Google rolled out in the US. We're yet to see that update introduced into the UK search engine, but there's no doubt that it will come.

Feedback in the US has been extensive, and whilst there are a few negative comments flying around, feedback has been largely positive. Google users in the US seem happier with the quality of the results they are now getting (although those results are not entirely perfect and improvements can still be made).

As our previous article discussed, the algorithmic update specifically targeted low-value content farms, or in other words, sites which regurgitate content for the sake of it. It is important for all companies with a web presence to contribute unique and interesting content to the web, and we're continually promoting and suggesting this approach to our clients. You see, the old adage 'content is king' still reigns supreme within the search world. What this update does, is penalise you if you don't have this approach.

So what's next? Is SEO still appropriate?

Over the last couple of years, many people working in and around the search environment have questioned whether the SEO process has life left in it. Can we still do things to promote websites and encourage them to achieve better rankings in the SERPs? As the web world develops and the search algorithms become more complicated, you can see why some might come to the conclusion that SEO is on it's way out. But, we've said it before, and we'll say it again: SEO is here to stay.

The fact is, Google has computer algorithms in place which shape how sites are indexed and ranked within the SERPs. These algorithms or rules apply to the majority of websites, meaning that on the most part, a website's competitors are treated in the same way as your site is. Rankings are therefore based on whether a developer or SEO technician has made a site more appealing than the competition by including specific tags or techniques - and this is always going to be the case. Google will always favour sites which have been constructed in a certain way, and it's down to SEOs to discover what Google likes to see and how they can align each website they work on to the ranking algorithms Google has in place.

Recently, the Head of Google's Web Spam team, Matt Cutts, was interviewed alongside Amit Singhal (another Googler), and it has since been confirmed that the updated algorithm can still be 'gamed' (i.e., it can still be optimised against). The two Googlers also suggested that the update is looking to see whether the content shown on a website is good enough for print.

So, for those of you who think SEO is an industry on the decline, think again!

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