google panda
Google panda
Google have made major changes in the search engine algorithm a few weeks ago. The update – called Panda by Google and Farmer by media – has scrambled website owners, online businesses and Internet Marketers to comply with the new rules – or else, they could lose their ranking in Google search results. How Google Panda (Farmer) affect your small business?

In layman’s term, Google Panda refers to the update in Google’s search algorithms, causing websites with low quality content to be penalized by Google, resulting in a drop in search engine ranking, thus reducing organic and targeted traffic, and eventually losing business opportunities and revenue.

The number one question many people ask is: What’s included in the “low quality” category?

The question might be simple, but the answer is trivial. Regardless how the infamous Google Engineer, Matt Cutts is trying to explain regarding low quality sites, the “rules” in determining sites quality is not transparent – for some obvious reasons.

In term of Google Panda, one rule is straightforward in determining whether a site is low in quality: “Thou shalt not run sites that are content farms” (sites with search engine optimized but duplicated content.) The problem is, what’s categorised as content farms?

Some are apparent: Article directories and press release sites is a couple of website type that are typically considered as content farms.

Article directories usually receiving article submissions from article owners who also submit the articles probably to dozens, if not hundreds of other article directories. This also the case with press release sites.

But then, how quality content network sites, such as eZineArticles.com and eHow.com, were significantly dropped in their search engine ranking? It’s ambiguous, really. They tried to change policies and shake things around content-wise, but the results will only be known in the near future, not today.

What about the rest of us? In general, I’ve heard “scary” stories of site owners whose sites are not only plummeted in ranking but also disappearing from the search engine result pages; I’ve also heard that article directory owners are either sell or close down their sites simply because it’s easier to start anew then fixing the low-quality content issues.

How to benefit from Google Panda

Well, not all things about Google Panda / Farmer are gloom and doom – I’ve heard that many site owners whose sites are offering unique, quality content are experiencing significant jump in overall site traffic, thus increasing their sites’ revenues.

Noobpreneur.com (and some of my other websites) also experiences an increase in traffic – not significant but good enough to prove that Google Panda favours unique, quality content.

Pondering on what is happening to website owners, I have some (been there, done that) tips to benefit from Google Panda:

1. Create quality, unique content (duh!)

It’s mandatory; low quality but unique content won’t make the cut. You need to go above and beyond creating great content that is beneficial to your site visitors.

2. Human first, search engine second

As many SEO specialists were suggesting a long time ago before Google Panda exist, the suggestion couldn’t be truer: In creating your website content, focus on your real audience first, then search engine second. This means: No keyword stuffing on title and description, etc.

3. Rewrite your website content

This is probably resource intensive, but you might want to consider rewriting or removing your sites’ low quality and/or duplicate content. HubPages.com did this by featuring good hub pages.

A verdict: Google Panda – friend or foe?

As of for me, I think Google Panda is a friend to us who thrive on creating quality content and making the Internet a better place.

I hate knowing people steal my sites’ content via automatic posting and such. Therefore I welcome Google Panda as a beneficial update for small business website owners that value quality content over short term money making online venture by using other people content.