The Panda became the center of discussion for the panelists at SMX New York 2011. In the session titled- Panda Proofing Your Content- thought and tips were shared on applying Panda prevention techniques in actual practices. The panelists included-
Moderator: Chris Sherman, Executive Editor, Search Engine Land
Q&A Moderator: John Doherty, SEO Consultant, Distilled
- Horst Joepen, CEO, Searchmetrics
- Heather Lloyd-Martin, President and CEO, SuccessWorks Search Marketing
- Chris Silver Smith, Director of Optimization Strategies, KeyRelevance
The stage was first taken by Heather Lloyd-Martin. She started off by saying that- “we are all content marketers and marketing people have to become more like content engineers” She said that before the Panda, people were creating content for search engines and this focused on writing content as fast as possible. But post the Panda things have changed and the task is to write your content for customers. Heather said, "The key is to stop asking what Google wants." She said that 92% of marketers believe that content creation is somewhat effective as an SEO tactic, however it is a challenge to implement it. Heather advised to view your content as parts of a whole. And also to create an editorial calendar so that you can set your content for different mediums. Write for the people and not the engines.
Where To Start?
If you have no idea where to begin on quality content, she gave these pointers to Develop content around:
- Keyword/phrase research that is based on what your customers response towards reading.
- Questions that customer asked
- The sales funnel and sales cycle
- Interesting stories about your product or service
- With quality content, one makes an emotional bond with the readers. It is like back to the basics here.
Where To Place The Quality Content?
Now, if you have your content ready, you can use it via different mediums-
- White papers
- Blog posts
- Sales pages
- Case studies
This quality content that you have created can then be spread, tweeted and linked everywhere on the net. You can do so and keep track of new and old content for future use. With a plan, sharing timely becomes easy.
This is what you need to remember and work on-
- Go through your current content. Is there something you can repurpose?
- Give an in-house training to your employees and bring them up to date regarding the new content requirements.
- Develop an editorial calendar and then assign monthly content to your in-house team or outsource.
- Keep a close watch on the quality.
- Tell a story about your company and convert like crazy.
The next speaker was Dr. Horst Joepen, CEO Searchmetics Inc. He started by saying that post the Panda, there is permanent quality assessment during crawling and indexing that puts permanent pressure on keyword positions. He then showed by examples how the constant updates effect the sites. He emphasized that you can know from the warning signs that you may be struck next.
Watch Out For The Warning Signs:
If you have not been hit as yet by the Panda and your competitor has been, then you are in danger of being hit. But you can prepare yourself beforehand by looking at warning signs. Study the competitors that got away and those that were hit. Next you can do the following-
- Compare backlink structures
- Compare content and structure of competitor domains
- Compare Adsense and Affiliate load
- Compare social network activities
- Compare user experience
The Panda did not have much effect on companies with high levels of social media activity. Moreover, you need to adjust your SEO strategy.
Recovering from the Panda Strike-
- Focus or go long tail
- Compensate with PPC traffic
- Distribute your content on subdomains.
- In a worse case scenario, you can always re-launch.
These are the pointers given out by Dr. Horst Joepen that you need to keep in mind while working on panda proofing your content.
- Stick To High Quality
- Peer group monitoring
- Learn from others
- Don’t stand back – walk the line
The third speaker of the session- Chris Silver Smith – Director of Optimization Strategies at KeyRelevance took the stage and spoke on the importance Google gives to usability and user experience. Before the Panda, Google started penalizing “thin affiliates” . Post the Panda, usability and user experience has become far more essential. He said that the Google document that leaked in 2006 and 2007 – Google Spam Recognition Guide For Quality Evaluators- revealed that this affiliate doorway pages were penalized. These sites just mirror the content on the main sites, hence they do not have anything for the end users.
Google Factors for Quality Evaluation:
- Machine-detectable Human Factors
- Clicks from search results
- Bounce rate
- Time on site
- Linking behavior
- Social media – including shares, mentions, and votes
- Paid Human Evaluator Staff
- Algorithmic Analysis and Application of Factor Values
The Takeaways- Essential Tips for Panda-proofing your website:
Following these steps, you can better your content and also save yourself from being hit by the Panda.
- Remove or no-index pages of low quality score or worth
- Get rid of error pages and “empty” pages
- Combine similar pages, redirect the one you remove to the other
- Check service status codes for your error pages
- Put more value-adding features on your page
- Coordinate strong social media and PR campaigns with re-launches
- Use rel=Author tagging
- Fix spelling, stylistic, and factual errors
- Remove excessive ads
- Become an authoritative source
The last tip he gave was to publish a book about your organization. It will have a huge effect and will firmly establish you as authority of sorts. The session then broke into Q and A. But stay tuned as PageTraffic is bringing more coverage of the SMX New York 2011, Day 1.Panda Proofing Your Content: SMX East New York 2011, Day 1!,