Hands Up Who Hates Pandas?
Ok not the fluffy, loveable kind but the website ranking eating kind.
Google have been rolling out various Panda/Farmer updates since Feb and it has killed lots of marketers, I find it almost funny how no one seems to be talking about it in IM. Maybe if we don’t mention it then it never happened.
Well it did happen, results for many peoples sites are really screwed up (If you have had personal nut kicking from Panda feel free to share in the comments, or if you didn’t share why you think your sites escaped) and it sucks. Everywhere I see people saying Diversify, do your own products etc etc.
That is great advice but it doesn’t bring back the income from the sites that were ranking. It is also easy to say when you are already diversified, which lucky enough I am. No one likes losing income they have had.
I want my $2 (go on what film is that from).
I actually had a friend who said they felt like crying after this update, I also have a friend who loves it because he has done very well from it..
What did they do different? Well I will share that in another post this week, right now I will just share some thoughts and some honesty.
My adsense/amazon sites got royally screwed in this last update, lucky enough I am very diversified in my income but I still don’t like a pay cut, I went through all the stages that we all go through when a relationship goes pear shaped .
- Anger – I was furious, it was all their fault
- Recrimination – What did I ever do to them..
- Getting back- I switched to using Bing for my own searching (like sleeping with the ex’s best friend)
- Realization and Acceptance – Yeah maybe the sites were not that great and maybe I didn’t have the link diversity I should of
In a normal relationship break up this is where I go and hang out in some dodgy bars or clubs for a while to prove I can make it on my own still. I am a married man and when I asked if I could go to some dodgy bar to get over Panda I was told I had to go clean up the dog poop in the yard.
Then I start to try and work out what I did wrong and work on it, So that was next, I went on an info hunt
Best Panda Update Information – I spent hours reading tons of post (I link to some at the bottom of the post) but the only one that made me sit back and really think was the one liner was from @dannysullivan at Search Engine Land. “It feels more like a new ranking factor than an algorithm change” . That really did it for me, that made me think of total change rather than hoping quick fixes would work for ever
I am going to share some things I have done immediately to try and tighten up my posts then in the next post I will share what the differences are between the guy who is as happy as can be with Panda and the ones who aren’t.
Tag Clouds – gone , or I made them no index. They are basically duplicate content and so many people have been putting bucket loads of them on each post it was just getting abused. I actually prefer to just delete them all and 301/404 redirect (i know a 404 redirect is not perfect) them to the home page. The sites I had made using some software seemed to have hundreds of tags (I actually deleted 1400 tags from one customers site)
Thin Posts – If you use any kind of software to build your sites and you have posts that have no images, 30 words and a buy here button that is just not going to cut it. So either fix em up or delete them, if they were making sales then fix them up, if they arent I deleted them. I have used so many diff bits of software to make sites I cant even list them all.
Look at Analytics -Look at all your content and see which pages were getting views pre panda. If your post is not getting 5/10/15 page views a month (totally arbitrary number) either fix it up or get rid of it. If you look at a post and believe in the content on there then commit to doing something with it. Add images, build links, add more content.
Ask Mum – Ask your mum or your wife or someone else who is not a seo/internet marketer what they think when they first see the site. If they wince and run off crying or avoid eye contact with you then you know you need to review your site. Ugly sites were always good for click throughs but times they are a changing.
Review your plugins – Times are changing and your tool set needs to change.
Seo Plugin By Yoast- i was using all in one seo and I just like this one so much more. Maybe I will do a video on it at some point.
Google Plus One -there are a few plugins for this
Facebook likes/shares/hates/don’t care – whatever the latest addition is to their buttons, there are a few plugins for this
Magazine style plugin - Wish I had thought of this one myself. I just spent the last 2 weeks adding this to all my sites and the bounce rate is down and people are hanging around more which is a good thing.
Indexing-if you have a 200 page site and only 20 pages were even indexed, this seems to have really annoyed the Panda and resulted in a sitewide problem. So get your rss feed from the site and get all those posts indexed, or you can remove the ones that aren’t indexed or put them in “do not index” state.
Next Panda Update – Panda is not a continuous updating thing so the work you do today may not help your site for a month or more. This makes it tough to keep pushing with it, but quitting is not an option! Smarter people than me will work out exactly what Google now wants. I think they want more in depth content, images, comments and stuff that a normal site would have. Look at your teenagers site and see what they include (ok maybe no one needs pics of the twilight caste on their site).
Oh and before I finish this, question for you..
Did the person who taught you to drive also teach you history, how to program, be a secretary or whatever your day job is? Probably not, we have different people who teach us different things. So when you want to learn how to promote your small business go to someone who does that all the time.
When you want to read about SEO go to people who do it day in and day out, they test, they have budgets they have teams to kick stuff around and they are not trying to sell you an ebook for $17
Three people I follow on twitter, if you are serious about wanting to learn seo and can afford to join seomoz I hear it is great.
Ok Panda Links that I liked
Please do feel free to comment, retweet, like or link to this post. Oh and feel free to look at any of the links on the right, you buy my stuff and I make money that is pretty much how it all works.