|Florida to Panda - 8 years on and nothing's changed?|
On November 16th 2003, Google commenced the so called "Florida update" which had a tremendous effect for many websites and, as a result , turned the SEO world on its head.Almost 8 years on, along comes Panda , which has an arguably bigger disruption and hype than the former.
Both have one thing in common. Google's pursuit of it's own version of "quality". But times have also changed, and Google progressively shows that it wants more control over the source relationships of commerce and information, squeezing out content recyclers along the way - it want's to occupy the middle ground as a key strategy going forward. And of course, in the 8 years, the technical capability of Google has vastly improved.
Let's forget about the " how it's done " and all the technical progress and nuances.
It still seems like to me that quality links, unique content and good architecture are as important as they were in 2003.
Has anything really changed apart from Google's capability in what a site needs to have? Or am I missing something?
One change has been major advances in semantic processing. We used to need to shout our keywords over and over to register some relevance. Today, content can be written in a much more natural fashion and still rank.
[edited by: tedster at 6:21 am (utc) on Apr 18, 2011]
Nothing has changed. If you don't give a damn about search engines, produce high quality content for users, use HTML tags as they are intended, don't try the latest Google Voodoo, your sites won't have been affected by the Florida, nor by the PANDA update.
I have been in this business for ten years now, working for others first, then starting my own websites, and everytime there is this BIG BAD update I scratch my head and wonder: What the hell are they even talking about.
Here is a little hint on how not be affected by big updates: Next time you read this thread about how Google is now putting more emphasis on URLs that are written backwards in capital letters and now values websites higher that link to wikipedia articles with titles where the number of letters in the title divided by three returns an even number - just ignore it. When you see people writing about how they are trying to channel the flow of PR through their websites and stuff like this: Make a cross next to their name, wait 6 month and wait for the big clamor.
>>Nothing has changed. If you don't give a damn about search engines, produce high quality content for users, use HTML tags as they are intended, don't try the latest Google Voodoo, your sites won't have been affected by the Florida, nor by the PANDA update.
That's what I thought and that's what I did.
So where's my google traffic?
Oh yeah, Panda took it away.
Amen...and I'm not remotely religious:-)
The only thing I have done any differently in 15/16 years is to html tag improve pages/sites as we all learnt the W3C guidelines, everything else has been done for the visitor and not for Google.
I remember learning as a Google tester in the 90s spending entire weekends experiementing with the beta engine since it gave an instant SERPs analysis of page changes etc and, IMHO, nothing much has changed to its basics since then.
If you honestly do not think anything has changed in the last 8 years then you should take a step back and reconsider. Reading Google patents and running scientific tests isn't fun but it clearly proves that Google has evolved into a much more complicated machine. Long gone are the days of stuffing the meta keyword tag with the same word and now you need to grasp the concept of multivariate analysis.
You may not be happy about Panda. Your anger & frustration might make you want to rant and complain. That achieves nothing productive. What is productive is to look at the Florida update and ask yourself how did impacted webmasters rebound? Will those changes help me with Panda?
Of course it is a free world and you can rant and complain but while you are doing that I am adding more pages to my site based on new keywords I found using Google suggest, launching an email newsletter to boost direct traffic and make me less reliant on Google, and interviewing college professors to gain relevant one way .edu links from their university bio page.
I think I have found at least one correlation for webmasterworld members to Panda. A glance in the user profiles of those affected indicates that there is a correlation between being affected by PANDA and the time you spend in the Google forums of webmasterworld.
So come and frequent the other forums more often: Ecommerce, Content Writing, HTML, CSS, Accessibility and Usability....
If you honestly do not think anything has changed in the last 8 years then you should take a step back and reconsider. Reading Google patents and running scientific tests isn't fun but it clearly proves that Google has evolved into a much more complicated machine.
Exactly. So every effort to try to beat the Algo is wasted time. You have to design your website not with that in mind what the scientific tests and patents are tweaking in the Algo, but with that in mind what those scientific tests and patents are trying to achieve.
The difference between the webmaster that is succesful in the short run and between webmasters that are succesful in the long run is this:
The one webmasters is following the Google engineers in his car all the way from New York to San Francisco, trying to guess every turn they are taking and trying to get his car in front.
The webmaster who is succesful in the long run has seen Googles destination, booked a flight to San Francisco and is already waiting for Google there.
I don't care about the road Google is taking. I am waiting at the destination.
Your 100% correct nothing has changed, if you have enough $ you can rule Googles serps. Panda made it more so, that you have to a LOT of $/resources to set at top in all of my niches.
jecasc, your first post there ( so true ) started my day off while a chuckle ( I had a late night and didn't wake til 16.00 hours here )..Thankyou :))
(Heh, Florida was the update that actually sent several of my sites to the top - where they still are)
I dunno how if or how much Google has changed. After trying a number of things, failing at a lot of them, succeeding at some of them, I'm still using the same litmus test I did in 2003 - "Objectively speaking, is there really a valid reason for this site to exist?" The ones I can legitimately answer 'yes' to, are still wildly successful. The rest, not so much.* But that speaks more to my overall business plan than search strategy.
*and yes, this means I essentially spent eight years arriving at the exactly same place I started. DON'T JUDGE ME.
jecasc, agreed. I've been in the biz 11 years now and I write for users. To date I haven't been impacted by any of these big updates G is doing. Quite frankly I don't care what they're doing, I'm building my sites for people. Always have. I don't buy links (why bother). I don't use article spinners. I don't put up thin pages for SE traffic. I'm in it for the long haul, not the get rich quick way... who knows maybe I just picked the right niche 11 years ago...