With Google announcing a major update to its Panda algorithm this week, no doubt some businesses have had a knee-jerk reaction and want to overhaul their content. But, before taking action too swiftly, remember that it may be a while before we understand the full impact of this recent update. In the meantime, take a deep breath and use this time as an opportunity to re-evaluate your content before making any changes.
Ask yourself: Are we as a business adhering to the essential strategies that underlie quality content online? To help you answer this question, let’s re-visit the tenets of what constitutes quality content. As part of this exercise, I’ll use a hypothetical scuba diving shop called Dive South Florida that has quality, rich content on its website. This fictional shop has existed for 25 years in Fort Lauderdale.
Review your site content and make sure that it’s relevant to your business and includes topics that are useful to and maybe expected by your customers.
Example: In the case of the scuba diving shop, its website content focuses on content relevant to local scuba diving and related topics such as a blog that includes its customers’ scuba diving trip reports off the coast of South Florida.
Unique, rich content
Your content should be interesting and not easy to replicate. The writing should be compelling and any other content pieces – like photos and videos – should be unique. You can’t copy something on the Internet without the search engines finding it.
Example: Dive South Florida’s website features underwater videos that show sea life from various diving spots around South Florida. A few paragraphs alongside each video describe the experience of diving in that spot. These videos are from the dive shop employees and even customers.
Your site content should be timely and updated on a regular basis. Your content should also anticipate a customer’s needs, particularly if you work in a business where demand surges for your service or product based on the season.
Example: The dive season in South Florida runs from May to September. In late March/early April, Dive South Florida’s website features a promotion about a sale on scuba diving equipment. The website’s blog also has a short write-up that encourages customers to use their tax refunds on the scuba diving equipment that is on sale.
Content should convey an authoritative voice and tone. It’s sometimes easy to forget – or even realize in the first place – that you’re an expert in your space.
Example: Dive South Florida’s business owners are longtime scuba divers. They’re practically the experts in their space. The business owners regularly write content that covers topics such as maintaining scuba diving equipment, scuba diving safety considerations, and their favorite diving spots around South Florida.
These fundamentals of effective content should be carried out on an ongoing basis because they can help you provide the information that your customers seek. By proxy then, you’re providing Google and other search engines with the kind of content they will rank highly precisely because it is beneficial to your customers (who are also theirs). If your website isn’t focusing on these fundamentals, then determine how you can refine your content so that it can generate traffic and provide a better experience for your customers.
In the wake of a Panda update, your site may experience some fluctuations, but realize this situation is normal and doesn’t always point to a penalty that will last. Google’s ongoing Panda updates are undoubtedly important because they help strengthen Google’s efforts to deliver valuable content to its users. With or without Panda, you should always strive to produce quality content that will help meet the needs of your prospective and existing customers.