Since Google’s new algorithm update, the web is in a bit of an uproar, trying to discover what needs to be done to increase page rank and remain at the top of the search results.
What Did ‘Panda’ Change?
While you’ve probably heard over and over about how the new update is slapping “duplicate content” with lower rankings, less search engine traffic, and an all around bad reputation, there’s more to it. There are plenty of other things that go into the new search ranking other than simply fresh content.
The new algorithm takes into account things like design, placement of ads, the click through rate from Google search results, bounce rates, etc. etc. etc. You need to not only have great, fresh, unique content on your site, but you need to look at many other metrics in order to rank well and make it to the top of Google.
Google used a panel of quality raters to find out what it is people like, then looked at the sites that people liked more and the sites that people liked less to developed an algorithm around what is good about the good sites. Obviously, great content, while being a prerequisite for high ranking, is not the only things people think about when decided whether they like a site or not.
While Google will not tell us exactly how their algorithm ranks a site, it did provide a list of 23 questions to ask yourself when you are publishing a site. If you can answer those questions correctly, you’re probably in good shape.
The questions revolve mostly around whether or not this site was developed and written by a person whose goal it is to provide value and a great user experience or a person who is trying to “rank” and pull as much money out of the site as possible.
Of course, Google wants to send its users to the absolute best sites possible that provide the most value and give the best user experience.
There are a few main things this list of 23 questions will encourage.
- Take the time to write your best content. 2 high quality, well researched, well edited posts per week will bring you more search engine traffic than 5-7 hastily produced, thrown together articles packed with keywords.
- Though they are not your number 1 priority, backlinks from authority sites are still in. The reason they are in is that if you’re getting links from those sites, Google can assume you provide some serious value to your readers. So, again, focus on providing some serious value.
- Limit ads. A page plastered with ads all over the place doesn’t provide a great user experience. While some well placed ads are fine, 4-5 banners before getting to the content will cause Google to look at your site with disdain.
- Focus on lowering your bounce rate and upping page-views per visit. This is more of a long term project as it will take tweaks in design, link placement, and content development, among other things.
Don’t let yourself rush content out there that will hurt your Google rankings and decrease your page’s authority. Be patient and craft great stuff that you (and Google) will be proud of.
Image courtesy of Flickr user: thos003