In an ongoing effort to create a more enjoyable search experience, and to remove junk from search results, Google has been implemented a new algorithm update called Panda Update 2.2 and we’re already seeing dramatic changes.
Panda Update 2.2 is an update that Google implemented in March 2011 that affected the SERPs for almost every website. As you can imagine everyone has been concerned about it ever since. Since the first Panda update Google has released a new algorithm update every month come out. There are several great articles that go into detail about the technical aspects of adapting to Panda but I want to discuss the concept of how Panda 2.2 really changes the way we, at SpiderSavvy, will approach SEO.
Background of Panda/Farmer
I thinks it’s important to know just a bit about the history of Panda. Navneet Panda, an engineer at Google, found a great way to scale machine learning algorithms. It is an interesting tactic that computer scientists use and programmers use to find solutions to problems. Thanks to Navneet machine learning scalability at Google is much higher.
How Panda 2.2 Works
What Google can do with Panda is look at several sites that people like and sites that people don’t like, using Google’s quality rating system, take the intelligence of the quality rating, and scale it using Panda’s machine learning process.
Here’s how it works! Basically, the idea is that the quality raters tell users what they like. Amit Singhal and Matt Cutts were interviewed by Wired Magazine. They talked about some of the things that were asked of these quality raters, like:
- Would you trust this web site with your credit card?
- Would you trust the medical information that this web site gives you with your kids?
- Do you feel the design of this web site is good?
All types of questions around the site’s quality, credibility, trustworthiness, and how much they would like to see it in the search engine results. Then they compare the difference.
Google algorithm separates the web sites that people like and don’t like and look at an array of metrics. Google has not been known to place a lot of emphasis on these metrics before, however by using these metrics in a machine learning process they can separate the two into web sites that people like more and the ones that people like less. They then downgrade the sites they like less and upgrade the ones they like more. This is the heart of the Panda update.
This new process means something new and different for SEO. We have traditionally done classic White hat SEO which involves doing good keyword research, building good content, and creating good back links. Now we have to think more about the experience of this website; creating a brand that users are going to love, share, and trust.
How SpiderSavvy is Adapting To Panda
Let’s talk about a few of the things that we can be doing at SpiderSavvy to help with this new sort of SEO.
We have been advocates of good user experience because it generates more links. Users contribute more content to it gets more social signal shares and tweets.
It is important to have a have a good design as opposed to a design that:
- has content that is competing with the advertising and you have to click next, next, next
- cannot be viewed in a single page format
- the site design feels like it was designed back in the 90’s
All of this will impact the ability of this page, this site to perform.
Ever hear that Content is King? It’s still true. Quality content matters a lot.
In a post-Panda world it important content is not only wrote for SEO purposes. It must be compelling, informative, and wow the visitor so that they want to share it with others on Facebook and Twitter.
Optimize Around Usage Metrics
Finally, you are going to be optimizing around user and usage metrics. For example, when people come to your site do they spend a good amount of time on your site, or do they go away immediately?
Do they spend a good amount of time? Are they bouncing or are they browsing? If you have a good browse rate, visitors are browsing 2 -4 pages on average. However, if they are browsing 1.001 pages, that might hurt you. Does your domain name have three hyphens and spammy? The user won’t want to get involved which is going to make the click-through rate and the rankings suffer.
Google will be looking at the diversity and quantity of traffic that comes to your site. Do lots of people from all around the world or all around your local region, your country, visit your website directly? Google can measure this through Chrome, Google toolbar, and Android. They know where people are going, where they spend time, how much time they spend, and what they do on those pages. Do people click from a search result and then click right back to the search results page and perform another search? Clearly, they were unhappy with that. They can take all these metrics and put them into the machine learning algorithm and then have Panda essentially recalculate.
We don’t think Google is going to be making many changes and that they are pleased with the way that Panda has gone from a search quality perspective and from a user happiness perspective. Their users are happier, and they are not seeing as much junk in the results.
Google likes the way this is going and we think we are going to see more and more of this over time. It could even get more aggressive. We will continue to focus on optimizing around this new idea of SEO.