The focus of Google’s Panda update is to incentivise the production of great quality content. It achieves this by penalising sites which publish content that doesn’t meet its strict standards. This includes both poorly written content and duplicate content, as well as content which is uninformative or irrelevant.
The Panda updates are produced on a rolling basis, which means that no-one knows when the next update will be. And, given the consternation which resulted from its initial implementation, this fact quite rightly has SEO professionals on their toes. However Panda doesn’t have to mean trouble. In fact, there are several ways in which we can turn Panda to our advantage.
Google VS Audience
What the Panda update is really designed to do, is to get people producing content which will be of unique value to an audience, instead of simply writing for Google. The latter requires very little skill or knowledge outside that of, say, keyword optimisation and link building, and has led to article spinning and content duplication – the very things Panda is trying to get rid of.
Your audience will not wish to be served poorly produced or duplicate content, and neither does Panda. So, when thinking about how you should create content for Panda, you should start by asking yourself what it is that you audience will want to see.
What Makes Content Great?
The most important factor to consider when producing content, is its uniqueness. Not just in terms of its being unique to your site, but also whether or not it is unique to your audience. This unique value will be measured in terms of whether or not the same information exists elsewhere, and how directly the content in question relates to the intent of your audience.
Great content will also be produced to a very high standard; preferably by someone who is enthusiastic or very knowledgeable about the topic at hand. If written, your content will contain no spelling or grammatical mistakes. If rich media, it will be high res, of a good size, and preferably incorporate both visual and auditory/written elements.
How Panda Can Benefit You
Panda is like the teacher standing over us, making sure we’ve done our homework. It may be an annoyance, inconvenience, or downright pain, but the proof, as they say, is in the pudding. It’s clear that, despite the inconvenience, Panda can actually do us more good than harm – providing we put in the time and work hard to follow the rules.
The benefits of following said rules are numerous. Great content is more likely to be shared, which means more visibility for your site or brand. Needing to produce content of unique value will give you an incentive to specialise and improve your knowledge of a subject or niche industry. Well written content will be easier for your audience to read and understand, which will result in an increased likelihood of their interacting with your content or brand. And if your content possesses unique value, this will help you, or your brand, to stand out in an oversaturated market wherein duplicate or low value content currently reigns.
You can find more details on Panda and the new (possibly fictitious) Google Zebra update here