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Google Panda Causes ‘Flight To Quality’

By in Search

It’s been since February that the “Google Panda” first appeared, striking fear into the hearts of ‘low-quality webmasters.’  How severe has the reaction been to this new improved Google ranking technique?  A quick search for “Google Panda” shows there are 696,000 results!  That means people are still talking about this massive change to how websites are ranked in Google.

The most recent round of Panda, referred to as “Panda 2.5″ was called a ‘minor update’ by Google spam-fighter Matt Cutts.  The reaction to it, appears to much more major.  To the search engine marketers, bloggers, and SEO communities, the shakeups are fairly severe.  A consensus of exactly what happened has been hard to come by, because many people complaining of ‘being hit’ by Google Panda don’t include details like what niche they compete in or what type of website the operate. Conjecture generally fills up the place where facts might prevail, which can be judged by numerous discussions occurring on the web.

Many posts about recovering from Google Panda have appeared, like this one.  Almost all of the suggestions involve improving the quality of afflicted websites.  This type of advice is hard to argue with, whether it turns out to be accurate enough. Appealing to visitors is always a good idea, especially in a world of dwindling search engine visitors.  The more you can do to please the people who actually visit your website, the better off you’ll be.  Still, even a quick search of Google for many popular terms should quickly dispel the myth that Google can somehow judge the ‘quality’ of a website.

You can really see that many people are interpreting ‘quality’ to mean LONG blog posts.

Several years ago, 25 word blog posts were not uncommon.  Now, don’t be surprised to see casual blog posts of up to 85,000 words!  Not only that, but bloggers are getting much more thorough with their blog posts.  Take this history of Google Panda, for instance.  No longer is it enough to just do a brief outline. Blog posts are now expected to offer substantive additional depth.  Updating blogs and websites with fresh content no longer appears to be an ‘easy money’ strategy.  Instead, many webmasters are returning to the older web pages and attempting to add quality.

Adding quality inevitably ends in making the pages more useful for visitors.  In the not so distance past, many people would build websites primarily for the pleasure of Google, and the traffic it would bring.  When the visitors got there, they were generally brutally treated to multiple ads and poor content.  As the years progressed, many webmasters became convinced that these sort of ‘poor quality’ web pages were acceptable.  After all, if they made you money, certainly they must be valuable for someone.

Expect a lot more opinions and analysis to be published about Google Panda.  Webmasters have been shaken up by this change and they are adapting as rapidly as possible to the new order.  Whether this movement will become so widespread that most searchers will see the higher quality on most searches remains to be seen.  Certainly some quality pages have been rewarded by Google Panda, but many poor quality ones have as well.  The cat and mouse game between search engine marketers and Google will continue, regardless of what approach Google takes.  Building your website for your visitors has taken on even more importance than before.