Okay so we have only just had Panda #24 and Panda #25 is no doubt just around the corner, but what and where will it hit next?
Google’s plan of late has been to go after sites which are sitting atop the SERPS for no particularly good reason and in the process they have managed to hit a number of really good sites and really good pages on these sites. And they still haven’t sorted out the problems that are inherent in the algorithm.
Back in October last year someone pointed out that if you search for ‘mortgages Leeds’ the first 28 slots were all taken with the same website. Granted this has now scaled back to the top 9 but even so it can’t be good news for end users who are searching for a mortgage deal.
Sure they have taken away a lot of the sites that were sat there through spammy links and some that relied exclusively on exact match domains (EMD’s) but in the process they also penalised a lot of EMD’s that were doing nothing wrong. In fact many of these were actually serving the purpose for which they were intended and offering a good service.
To dodge the bullet therefore you need to understand where Google is going next and it seems clear that it will be sites that have thin or duplicate content (again) as many of them have still slipped through the net. Working hard on your content is therefore essential but there is a better way to approach this.
We’ve advised many clients recently to imagine that the internet didn’t exist and then to describe how they would approach their marketing. Most of them talk about the traditional methods of advertising utilising press, radio and TV but also about doing something to get noticed such as an open day or a special offer or a charity stunt. Ironically none of them would consider this as part of a digital strategy.
And that is why we are in the state we are today with the SERPS. People have been looking for the path of least resistance and as far back as we can remember there has always been a way be it cloaked content, site wide footer links, link farms; you name it there has always been a way of short cutting the process. And foolishly as consumers we allowed this. We bought from sites with rubbish content and poor service because they were top of the SERPS.
The real answer has been staring us in the face all the time and that is hire someone who understands Marketing. Create a proper Marketing strategy and then execute it. If you have a coherent plan with targets and measures in place then you will create something long lasting that doesn’t need to dodge bullets as it won’t ever be in Google’s firing line.
So to dodge the next bullet, just don’t be anywhere near where the gun is pointing….