What’s This About Organic Panda Farmers?

Earlier this year, Google released another significant update to their search algorithm aimed at devaluing websites deemed to be of low-quality. The Farmer/Panda update was officially released on February 24, 2011 and has affected an estimated 12% of Google search engine results. (The update was initially coined “Farmer” by Danny Sullivan of Search Engine Land but was named Panda internally at Google after one of the engineers.)

As many of you know, we’ve been stressing the importance of providing unique, quality content for some time now. This most recent algorithm update touches on that by identifying and devaluing excessive duplicate (copied) content, but it also takes the analysis a good bit deeper. Essentially, Google polled third-party testers about the overall quality of a series of websites and compiled their answers to help define what a “low-quality website” is. Some of the signals of low-quality websites include the following:

  • High percentage of duplicate content
  • High bounce rate
  • Low click-through rate
  • Low time-on-site
  • Excessively obtrusive advertising

These metrics are not only a measure of content quality, but can also be heavily influenced by the quality of web design and usability. Your content may be 100% unique and engaging, but if your web design is grossly outdated and contains aggressive ads this would affect your overall quality score by contributing to high bounce rates and low time-on-site metrics.

So what’s the takeaway?

Instead of scrambling to update your website every time there’s a Google update, align your Internet marketing practices with Google’s: Provide engaging, quality content and give your visitors the best experience possible! This really isn’t a new concept but it does help to reinforce our overall approach for SEO and Internet marketing for years.

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