Google has been busy the past couple of months doing fairly substantial updates to their algorithm. I have talked in the past about how they claimed these big updates weren’t happening any more, but I think it is hard to avoid issues like this. If they do make a change and it is significant, it is going to look like a “big” update. On that note, in January we saw some changes to Panda. Panda is about content and Moz did an interesting piece on it and has Google quotes so I won’t reinvent the wheel but wanted to get to the point for smaller business owners on how to avoid getting penalized with Panda, as I see some of these mistakes fairly regularly with smaller businesses.
Panda is about good, original content…
Most small business owners are not writers and they just want to get the website up with the basic information and get on with their day. There are two major mistakes you can make when doing this that can get you in various degrees of trouble with Google. You know your business better than anyone. Take a few moments and put some good quality thoughts together on each topic and how you are going to help your clients. This isn’t just for Google, but for your customers. If they search for your service and just see two generic sentences, it isn’t going to keep them, but if they see content that explains to them that you know what you are doing and how you will help with a solution to their issue, you are likely to keep them. Google is just rewarding that.
Don’t Copy Content from Another Site!
I have run in to clients in the past that simply copied content from another site. One client copied his whole site and didn’t admit that to me and we couldn’t figure out why he was not moving up the rankings. Duplicate content is a big issue and can get your whole site punished. I know the concept between two companies that do similar services are the same, but don’t copy their site because they are ranking well. It won’t help move you up, it will actually push you down. Write your own content. If you want to use that high ranking site for ideas in organizing your own thoughts, go ahead, but don’t copy it. Writer your own version or have a writer write a unique version.
Write More Than Two Sentences!
Another common issue I run in to is the site with many pages, but they all have a generic sentence or two. “ABC company has been helping with widgets for over 25 years. We have great prices and good service.” That is not going to get it done. It is what is called thin content and doesn’t give your potential customers or Google enough information to really know what that page is about or what you are offering. Again, write good original content that will explain how you are the best solution for their issue. The more pages offering solutions you have, the more ways Google can show you off to potential customers, but it has to be original.
So with Google constantly updating the algorithm and getting smarter at it every day, don’t fall in to the same old traps. With technical issues gaining in importance as well, make sure the easy stuff you have the most control over, your content, is done correctly so you have a chance to deal with the other stuff. As they say, in SEO, content is king, so you can’t succeed if you don’t put forth honest effort with your content.