Written By: Adam Dince
When Google’s Panda algorithm update was released this February, I was thrilled that Google was finally getting serious about ridding its search results of “fluff” content. Furthermore, I was excited about Panda honing in on duplicate content offenders. Let me digress and speak about duplicate content for a moment.
For years, I’ve worked with clients that gave me every excuse as to why they couldn’t remediate duplicate content issues. Though I’ve preached about:
- Duplicate content pages providing a poor user-experience on SERPs
- Link equity being split between duplicate content pages
- I’ve even gone as far as saying that search engines may penalize your site if there is significant duplicate content issues
Now with Panda, I was finally able to say that Google was fed up with duplicate content was not gonna take it anymore! Can I get a little air guitar?
However, after watching Rand Fishkin’s video “How Google Panda’s Update Changed SEO Best Practice Forever”, I kind of freaked out a bit. I mean, sure… I have been a fierce advocate of building digital assets with users in mind. I have not deviated from my position that SEO can lead a horse (user) to water (search results page), but it can’t make them drink (convert once they click-thru). I’ve always encouraged my clients to build quality shareable content and quality customer experiences. However, Panda turned my encouragements in to SEO requirements.
Now I had to ask myself a few questions:
- Which clients need redesigns?
- How do I tell them that their baby might be too ugly for Google’s hotness?
- How do I convey the ROI on a redesign?
- How do I communicate Panda in a way that doesn’t make it appear as though I’m trying to ask my clients for more money?
- How do I convince them that meeting Panda’s usability standards is as important if not more than other marketing objectives?
After a few client-facing Panda presentations, I had a diverse set of responses. Some clients were excited to see that Google was focusing on quality and others were frustrated with the lack of time they had to prepare for Panda’s changes. Some of my clients have already started preparing for Panda modifications; others have to wait until next year’s budgets are allocated. Either way, Panda has changed the way my clients will be approaching digital and search moving forward.
In my humble opinion, I think that Panda is great for marketers, users, and search engines. It takes the power away from spammers and marketers who only care about rankings and gives it to those more evolved in their digital strategy. Ultimately, if Google is able to make Panda work as intended, Google’s search results will be much more useful to searchers and much more valuable to brands investing in digital and SEO strategies.
My advice to digital professionals who find themselves in a pickle because of Panda’s drastic update is to: embrace it, evangelize it, and don’t worry about clients getting upset with you. In the end, they will get over it and thank you for being honest with them.