Curated Content's Blog

Content marketing articles from our agency


Jul 2011

Google Panda: Black & White and Read All Over?

Posted by / in Blog, Copywriting, Uncategorized / 3 comments

Whatever it is those good old Google boys are putting on their breakfast cereal – it’s working.  Google +, Google Panda…Google on a Hot Tin Roof! (OK, we may have made that last one up) Point being:  it’s on – especially on the content front, and if you’re not on with it, then you can kiss that page ranking goodbye and go back to cracking coconuts for a living.

So what exactly does the (formally confirmed by Google on June 21) Panda Update Version 2.2 actually mean for content on the web?

First up, it’s worth noting , that Panda  is not an algorithm update. SEO guru Danny Sullivan puts it like this: “Panda is a value that feeds into the overall Google algorithm. If it helps, consider it as if every site is given a PandaRank score. Those low in Panda come through OK; those high get hammered by the beast.”

 In a digital nutshell, Panda is a filter designed by Google to spot low-quality content. And it gets worse for all you shoddy content producers – if Panda spots too many lousy content pages attributed to your site, then your entire website gets punished – or “pandified”.

Oh sure, you won’t ever be completely thrown off Google, but there will be plenty of sites crammed with what Panda has decided is much better content happily relaxing, stretched out above you.  Thankfully, it’s not all bad news. Because Panda is a filter applied periodically, (and it’s worth noting Google loves nothing better than surprises so you never know when an update occurs until it occurs), it does give you a chance to improve on the quality of your content. If you were penalised by Panda 1.0, (released February 2011) then Google has given you some time to fix things – Google wants you to strive for a better result! If you learned from your attempt to fool Google and in the process piss off an infinite number of users, then this time round, life should improve and you will be rewarded with an improved page ranking!

But why take our word for it?

Amit Singhal, Google’s head of search, in a post on the Google Webmaster Central blog named More guidance on building high-quality sites gave his take onwhat makes content good quality in the eyes of the beast – or as we say, content worth the click. And here is the low-down direct from the man himself:

  • Would you trust the information presented in this article?
  • Is this article written by an expert or enthusiast who knows the topic well, or is it more shallow in nature?
  • Does the site have duplicate, overlapping, or redundant articles on the same or similar topics with slightly different keyword variations?
  • Would you be comfortable giving your credit card information to this site?
  • Does this article have spelling, stylistic, or factual errors?
  • Are the topics driven by genuine interests of readers of the site, or does the site generate content by attempting to guess what might rank well in search engines?
  • Does the article provide original content or information, original reporting, original research, or original analysis?
  • Does the page provide substantial value when compared to other pages in search results?
  • How much quality control is done on content?
  • Does the article describe both sides of a story?
  • Is the site a recognized authority on its topic?
  • Is the content mass-produced by or outsourced to a large number of creators, or spread across a large network of sites, so that individual pages or sites don’t get as much attention or care?
  • Was the article edited well, or does it appear sloppy or hastily produced?
  • For a health related query, would you trust information from this site?
  • Would you recognize this site as an authoritative source when mentioned by name?
  • Does this article provide a complete or comprehensive description of the topic?
  • Does this article contain insightful analysis or interesting information that is beyond obvious?
  • Is this the sort of page you’d want to bookmark, share with a friend, or recommend?
  • Does this article have an excessive amount of ads that distract from or interfere with the main content?
  • Would you expect to see this article in a printed magazine, encyclopedia or book?
  • Are the articles short, unsubstantial, or otherwise lacking in helpful specifics?
  • Are the pages produced with great care and attention to detail vs. less attention to detail?
  • Would users complain when they see pages from this site?

All this, of course, is a sweet melody of longing to Curated Content’s ears.  We have this list etched onto the inside of our brains and we get up each morning and love that we work through this list for a living. It’s not rocket science, it’s just good content created by good writers to be enjoyed by people searching with good intent.

It’s just content worth the click.

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