What is Google Panda? Folks times have most definitely changed … – Social signal is the new “VOTE” for acheiving traffic on the web, and receiving top placement on search engines.
If you’re wondering “What is Google Panda?”, it was an update in late 2011 that affected a lot of internet marketers using various backlinking strategies. Basically Google Panda was a shift to place more emphasis on the “Human Component” versus robots and software that helps even terrible websites get top rankings. Google is now placing more emphasis on Social Networks, likes, shares, Stumbles, etc, to determine how valuable that content is to it’s readers.
If you notice, the internet has changed from anonymity to now, everyone’s got a profile online. Be it Facebook, Google Plus, LinkedIn, Pinterest…the list goes on. Furthermore, the growth of video is helping people establish their own personal brand like never before.
After that came social networking. The “readers” were no longer just bystanders. They could now participate on the Internet – blog, discuss, comment, share, create profiles and exchange ideas with other users and so on. With this modification the significance of backlinks reduced drastically:
Backlinking in the Early Days: You would write quality content or provide a valuable resource so that other web sites on the Internet could link to your website.
Backlinking the Most recent Couple of Years: Go out and get as many backlinks to your blog by whatever means (profile links, commenting, forum signatures, social bookmarking, backlinking exchanges, article submissions and marketing, etc.) so that you could rank well in search engine results. Link Popularity WAS all the rage online for SEO. I am not using “backlinking NOW” for very good reason.
Explained simply, even poor quality sites would climb to the top of the search engine results because they could exploit Googles algorithm. If you knew how to play the backlinking game, you could get a site ranked high even though it had poor content. Change was needed to combat this abusive practice.
What is Google Panda and When Did it Update?
Thewell-known Google Panda Update occurred in late 2011. This update affected approximately 12% of the web sites. Thousands of internet sites reported that their backlinks have been deindexed by Google. To decrease spamming the overall effect of backlinking has been considerably reduced.
What’s important is NOW is a great time to start a blog site. If you have great content people will find it, and you will get traffic if you learn how to utilize Social Media. This integration is now commonly identified as “Social Signals”. Social signals have for the most part replaced backlinks as the new “VOTE” for websites.
How did Google Panda influence backlinking tactics?
Although backlinking is not completely dead and backlinking will continue to exist, it will continue with reduced importance. Google is not opposed to backlinks. However, it is staunchly against unethical backlinking tactics. Google hates unnatural links as much as they love natural links. Google is doing all they can to discover and de-value unnatural backlinks. High quality backlinks used to matter and will continue to matter in the future as well. But backlink exploitation may not work very well now. So if you are still investing scads of bucks and time into unethical backlinking techniques like blog networks, article directories, reciprocal backlinks etc., you may no longer reap the benefits you once did.
BuildMyRank (BMR), one of the popular link building service had to close recently as a consequence of Google de-indexing their links. A post at their blog said:
“Unfortunately, this morning, our scripts and manual checks have determined that the overwhelming majority of our network has been de-indexed (by Google), as of March 19, 2012. In our wildest dreams, there’s no way we could have imagined this happening.”
Many other link building service providers have also been affected by Google Panda, and also the recent Google Penguin algorithm update.
On the other hand, websites optimized for social signals have been getting better rankings. In my own experience, I’ve noticed a huge jump in traffic recently from the use of TribePro, a network of other marketers that help syndicate your content. I’m focusing more on networking and also helping others syndicate their content as well.
So essentially other than on-page seo, search engine rankings will now be determined by a combination of back links and social signals. Among the two, it’s the social signals whose importance is primarily going to grow in the future. Backlinking is going to take a back seat to social signals. Google Panda was developed to find the content people actually “Like” the most and reward that content with better rankings.
How will Google Panda affect webmasters and Internet marketers?
Webmasters and Internet marketers need to make a major shift in their marketing plans to accomodate for Google Panda, Google Penguin, and social signals. That means more effort placed into social media strategies. Now is the time when companies, brands and bloggers need to take social media more seriously. Many questions about Google Panda have come up, and recently with Google Penguin such as:
- How much time and money should I evest in Social Media? To put it mildly, you should focus most of your efforts and money into Social Media. Backlinking has been showing diminishing effects in search engine results, and its importance is only going to fade. I would however, maintain a strategy of content on high quality websites that backlink to you with Video and Article Marketing to the top directories.
- How do I increase Social Media Influence? (Likes, Shares, and Follows) Building a legitimate fan following takes time to build. However, you can accelerate the process by utilizing the best practices of social media spheres, and joining syndication/networking “Tribes” such as TribePro if you’re a small business or internet marketer.
- Can I use fake profiles or similiar networks to boost my social media shares? Many of the “Gurus” have software and methods to do this, but a word to the wise – I wouldn’t waste my time setting these up…it probably won’t help. Social media shares from authority social media users (highly active) will help you more than social media shares from not so active social media users. Establishing fake social media profiles just for the sake of getting shares will most likely have a negligible effect. Concentrate on networking with real social media users, and more importantly, the influential social media users. Network with real people and you will naturally see results.
- Is Investing in Social Media Now going to help me in the future? All major search engines (not just Google) are using social media data to rank search results now. In the future too, the effect of social media can only be expected to grow. This is the best allocation of time and money you can focus on right now.
4 Areas of Marketing Focus for Google Panda
Forget About Unethical Backlinking
Spammy backlinking is dead folks. I can safely say that at least 80% of your backlinking effort is going to be a waste of time. Work on getting high quality backlinks naturally with quality content and networking. Video Marketing is a way to personally brand yourself or your company and videos are easily shared, giving you the best results for the time spent.
Focus on Fresh, High Quality, Unique Content
Developing a blog and keeping it updated really helps here. The newest, most recent content could be given more significance in Google search results, and that’s where a blog comes into play. Updating fresh content allows your website to be indexed and ranked more quickly. Things that are more important when they contain the latest information, such as weather forecasts and sports scores and updates, are just a couple examples of “dynamic change” that the search engines are looking for. Again, Videos are a way to make you stand out among the crowd as well. There is only one you, and video establishes your brand better than anything. 90% of the internet traffic will be video by 2014. Be prepared, and get better at it!
Work on Optimizing your sites for a better user experience
Less page loading time, lower bounce rates and a limited number of ads on web pages gets you a better user experience. People prefer sites that load quickly and that don’t have ads and other miscellaneous stuff splattered all over. This is not just for the sake of your visitors but for search engines as well. Google takes this into account when ranking search results.
Work on Real Relationships and Network all you can
Utilize social media networks to attract as many users as possible, and network like crazy. Try being a part of a network of influential social media users. I’ll say it again, TribePro is one of the best answers I’ve found to most of what Google is looking for with Google Panda in my humble opinion. It’s filled with other companies that are actively involved on over 40 social media networks, and share your content based on whether the “like” what you are offering.
I will follow up soon with an article on Google Penguin, but I wanted to focus today on the importance of moving your marketing strategies more towards Social Media, Video Marketing, and less on soon-to-be-less-useful backlinks. It really is a thing of the past.