Google just updated its core algorithm (the ranking signals that determine the placement of your website in the search results) by including signals that are familiar to the Panda update. This is big news for marketers in search engine optimization as Panda – and this similar update – focuses on quality site content. Over the years, Google has maintained that any updates are meant for the searcher’s benefit and it seems this update is in line with that theme as it’s meant to provide more relevant content based on the search query.
What does this mean for you?
- Quality is extremely important: Since this update is similar to Panda and since Google has announced that Panda will be a part of the core algorithm, it's important to understand what Panda is. Panda is viewed as a spam filter focusing on quality but was applied after all the other ranking signals were factored in. Now, it seems it will be applied just as strongly as all of the other ranking signals meaning quality is a key component of your website's search results performance.
- What makes my site high-quality: Google looks for trustful information, information written professionally and knowledgeably – not just stuffed with keywords – as well as sites without duplicate or redundant articles, sites containing original information, no spelling or grammatical errors, topics that match the overall theme of the website, content that meets the needs of the website visitors, among other factors. Other guiding factors when developing content for your website includes E.A.T. which stands for your expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness. If you have sparse content that’s determined to be useless and doesn’t display E.A.T., your page will suffer from this algorithm update and then so will your website’s reputation.
- Focus on the searcher: Does your page answer the questions they searched for? If your page isn’t seen as useful by searchers, this new signal will affect your ranking and the performance of that page. Make sure the information isn’t vague and actually shares important details. For example, your room detail pages should most definitely include images, occupancy and amenity information, where the room is located on the property or particular views it has, as well as the opportunity to book the room. If your guest doesn’t know everything they should know about a room before booking then you need to update that page to stay relevant with the updated algorithm.
- Now is not the time to be rash: Don’t go to your site deleting pages that are older or that you may not view as quality. The first step should be reviewing your Google Analytics account to find low performing pages. A low performing page may have a high bounce rate, exit rate, online visitors not spending much time on the page, or the page isn’t producing reservations. Once you’ve identified which pages need some love and attention, create an action plan on how to improve the page whether it’s updating content to be more timely, fixing any grammatical errors, or adding additional information to help make the page more complete. If you don’t have the time to fix these pages now, then the next best option is to stop these pages from being indexed or crawled by Google and thus preventing these pages from showing up in the search engine results.
While the digital marketing industry is still waiting for some answers from Google about this update, it’s never a bad time to make sure the content on your website is high-quality, up to date, and provides valuable information for your online visitor. Google has shared that Panda will become a part of the core algorithm, meaning quality is a huge focus for the search engine giant in the coming year.