A significant part of Panda is about cleaning up the web and finding out what’s real and what’s not. Users are getting tired of sifting through garbage in the results and search engines are getting tired of serving it. As search itself becomes more and more competitive, users have increased choices, advertisers and eyeballs become more valuable, and it becomes a search engines key focus and responsibility to deliver the best quality results, in every search, with little to no room for error.
The keyword and focal point to remember for future success is Brands. Google has been talking about this for a long time now and it is finally becoming a significant part of the algorithm. (Google’s Schmidt: Brands to clean up Internet ‘cesspool’…..) Which web sites should be trusted and displayed high in the results and which shouldn’t? Brands are indeed the answer.
Most SEO’s and experienced marketers have already noticed that ‘content’ has been specifically targeted, ‘domain names’ have been specifically targeted, and strong brands are seeing the most benefit from Panda. So it will be increasingly important to remain focused on the types of signals which indicate brand value. Of course, achitectual aspects of a site will still play a role, as well as ‘links’ which will still play a very important roll aswell, but the types of links may get even more particular. Like for instance, links from places which identify and associate a web site with a real “business“. Does this site have a verifiable physical “address“? Am I seeing the appropriate social signals for a product or service which actually or likely “exists“? These things are all possible to be checked and measured…..
Some may not agree with these ranking factors, but you need to think a bit differently than anyone else, a little less by-the-book, and a little more artificially intelligent.
- If search engines could measure this sort of thing would they use it?
- If so how would they do it?
- If you were designing an algorithm to detect brands, what are the types of things you would look for?
Identifying these types of things and adding them to your marketing mix would and could only help a site and not hurt it. For example, adding a link to a site from a reputable source which actually checks a business before giving a link is important. Verifying a businesses physical address in a Google trusted source like Google Places can only help, not hurt, so get it out of the way by doing it. This way, if it is a ranking factor, its done, if not, no loss.
The above is just one sort of way to look at Panda but there is much more to it…. This could be looking further into the future if search engines are not doing this stuff yet, but at minimum, they are trying their best to do it, and the sooner you start preparing for it, the better off your site, your business, and your overall success will be.
As for the domain aspect of Panda, it is interesting to see that the domain name industry has not reacted in a more heated negitive way in regards to this recent update as it specifically undermines the direct value of keyword driven and generic domain names. Many site owners who have survived on the quality of their domain name alone are learning that these changes will effect how they do business, cost them significant traffic, as well as change the way they value their domain assets.
So at the end of the day, if you want to stay ahead of the pack, it is time to start looking much much closer at a web sites brand value, and not just it’s links, domain name, architectural structure, optimization, etc…