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Just another Panda theory... a different way to think

 8:44 pm on Aug 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

Ranking used to be about having lots of keywords. I remember having to add extra paragraphs here and there to "explain" a certain web page. But in reality this explanation was more for Google than it was for the visitors.

Post Panda I don't think we need all the extra fluff, but keep it merely to the essentials, to make it easier for the visitor to do what they came to do.

I think web sites are going to take a similar roll to smart phone apps. Think about it, these apps are only created with the user in mind, not the search engines. The smarter Google gets, the less we will need to explain, and our sites can revolve more around functionality.



 10:54 pm on Aug 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

IMHO I agree- Most of this SEO talk is just noise - think about your users, how they're interacting with your page, if you're serving them appropriately. Forget Google, forget SEO in general.

There's no way for us to know what / how Google really works - they're untangling data that is beyond their grasp - nevermind ours. If they stop sending people to the right place, they'll die and be replaced- so we can assume that's their primary goal.

Be the place that does the best job. As you said.

That's the best thing i've read re: SEO for a while - once in a while i forget - nice reminder :)


 1:37 am on Aug 26, 2012 (gmt 0)

whatson you are correct. That paragraph of text was for the search engines and not the people who visit the site. When you usually make content like this, it is usually buried at the bottom of the page below all the content you are featuring.

A good example are the ecommerce sites trying to rank for different types of widgets. They will do this by making a "welcome" paragraph but realistically it is just a way for them to stuff their homepage with their prime keywords. Here is a typical layout of a site that does this:


[ ] [ ] [ ] [ ]
[ ] [ ] [ ] [ ]
[ ] [ ] [ ] [ ]
welcome to widgets plus
here you can find red
widgets, blue widgets
and green widgets.
contact us if you dont
see a widget you are
looking for.


Now on the page you would have to actually scroll to actually see it. And when someone goes on an ecommerce website, are they really looking for a welcome message? I find them tacky and pointless. I can get a much better vibe from a site from their design, layout, contact info, prices etc.

So to respond to your thread, I don't think this extra content is useless, but rather what its intent is and that is what google is trying to figure out.


 4:34 am on Aug 26, 2012 (gmt 0)

That's exactly what I wanted to make - Creating an app-like (mobile responsive) website, giving the reader exactly what he is looking for eliminating all the bla bla bla.
But then I remembered the theories about thin content.


 9:13 am on Aug 26, 2012 (gmt 0)

Yea, I forgot to mention that. So if this is the case, then I don't think thin content is necessarily that bad.
However perhaps lots of similar pages with their content only differing slightly might be more the issue.
As an app will still have some content on it, and it will be unique from the other pages.


 3:00 pm on Aug 26, 2012 (gmt 0)

The more I think about it, the more I realize there is nothing more logical than to create an app-like website [it may work good for e-commerce, facts and how-to types].

As for the thin content issue, whatson you probably get to the point, I think it wouldn't be considered 'thin' when you keep the ratio of unique content on a page as high as possible.
Also, consider the ratio of ads as part of the game.


 6:02 pm on Aug 26, 2012 (gmt 0)

It comes down to advertising 101.
I think most people want to lead in with some general information on their products, then focus on specifics as they drill down through the site. Is that considered duplicate content or poor quality? If it is, then they need to rewrite the advertising books.
Since the 1950's sales strategy stages have included several steps:
1. Attention
2. Interest
3. Desire
4. Conviction
5. Action
That process lends itself to some repetition, but people need that to push their buy button.
The old "Tell'em what you are going to tell'em, tell it to them, and then tell'em what you told them" process also involves repetition. Some repetition is REQUIRED in order to connect with the human brain which needs reassurance to pull the proverbial buy trigger. Old fashioned advertising and modern SEO methodologies don't seem to mix well.

Google now wants us to forget all that and think like a machine. They say write for your users, but their rules force you to write to make the algo happy. We've tried to comply. No wonder our sales are in the dumpster.

Up till recently some sites converted great, then, Google decided that any repetition in the sales funnel was a "no no" and was bad intent devised solely to rank higher in the serps, when it was really needed to rank higher in the brains of the buyers. Google fixed that problem by declaring it taboo and de-ranking the content, and in many cases breaking the sales funnel.

Admittedly, many people gamed the system with keyword loading and content duplication in an attempt to rise in the serps, but for many sites that held high rank since day one using original advertising based content, they suffer the same fate as the black hatters.


 8:55 pm on Aug 26, 2012 (gmt 0)

7% of sites
93% of sites

The 7% get the traffic and are doing something the 93% aren't. Where it makes a difference is in the human sniff test EVERY site in the 7% must undergo to retain elite status(in Google's collective mind).

Would YOUR site stand worthy of a top 7% spot? If not right now - what can you do about it?

hint: check out your competitors, you need to find an edge over them all. Ideally that involves alternative sources of traffic too since one can not rely solely on Google anymore(because an eventual kick in the pants by some wild animal seems to be the norm).


 12:53 am on Aug 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

It doesn't necessarily need to be an edge, but just something different, another way to do something.
e.g. look at all the different hotel booking sites. Everyone has their favorite that they prefer to use for whatever reason.


 3:24 am on Aug 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

Post Panda I don't think we need all the extra fluff, but keep it merely to the essentials, to make it easier for the visitor to do what they came to do.

If you're writing content solely to satisfy a search engine, that might be fine and dandy.
If you're writing content to convince humans to buy, it's another thing altogether.

The whole Google line to 'write for users' vs. 'what the algo actually does' is counter intuitive.
The eggheads at Google don't seem to understand that real humans require constant bombardment to convince them to buy one widget over another. If you think I'm wrong, then tell that to the automakers who spend billions every year repeating the same message "buy our car" over the air waves.

If Google owned the FCC, on the free air waves they'd limit repetition and you'd hear one ad for one product each week, and that's it. Might make it a better world for those who hate commercials, but a miserable world for the sales force.

There would be one channel however, the Google owned AWORDS channel, and that would be allowed to repeat product messages 'ad nauseum'.

"Fluff" in many cases sells. Without it, users feel lost and left with an incomplete story. The new algos might work nice for the true, obvious blackhat cases (and they should!) but when they go rogue and slam a site just for doing their best sales schtick, then it's a shame as this impedes the eCommerce of the planet and the prosperity of honest people.

When we win, Google wins, when we lose, um, well...Google wins...so I guess it just doesn't matter now does it?


 4:32 am on Aug 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

Just a quick comment.
There's another solid sales tactic without using the buy button so often down the funnel. It goes something like this -
1. Who is it for?
2. What is it?
3. What does it do for its target user?
4. Why is it better than the available alternatives?
Buy Button.
It doesn't work as good as the above mentioned.

[edited by: Zivush at 4:51 am (utc) on Aug 27, 2012]


 4:44 am on Aug 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

Or even simpler
1. How much is it?
Buy Button.

It depends on the products, the more you have to educate your visitor the more steps you might require. But each step of the way should be trying to sell them. But I would say the fewer steps you can manage, the better your conversion rate will be.


 1:16 pm on Aug 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

@zivush & whatson - Z first: Yes, that will work but also includes some level of repetition. For each step you'll have to reuse some of your key phrases. Not to the point of being ridiculous or irritating of course, but as MC has indicated with his hand drawing a curve in the air, about three times might trigger the algo to start shutting you down.

W - Really? You must work for Google. I'd hate to see your sales figures, unless of course you are selling something very, VERY simple, like sand or marbles, which in that case you could probably get away with it. I can't see that approach working for anything more complex. Imaging if you bought a TV, laptop, appliance or car that way.

In short, some products require more information than others to convince buyers to buy. Throwing a vanilla algo at every site won't work. The algo would need to know the product first, then decide where to go from there. That would require quite a bit of AI and subsequent learning. I can see G trying to do this, but not getting it right for many iterations.


 1:51 pm on Aug 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

Totally agree whatson. Mobile versions of sites show that people are happy with simpler sites. You do need to provide the information buyers require to make a sound decision but it can be delivered in instalments as they move down through the sales tunnel.

As zivush says, no need for the blah blah blah any more.


 2:46 pm on Aug 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

Ranking used to be about having lots of keywords. I remember having to add extra paragraphs here and there to "explain" a certain web page.

Ranking was never about having lots of keywords. I remember Google used to have feature in the cache that read "the keyword shows only on links pointing to this website" or something of that nature. In other words, you used to be able to rank a page for "blue widgets" without even mentioning blue widgets, not even once on that page, as long as you had enough blue widget links point to it, aka a google bomb.


 3:09 pm on Aug 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

@ artlus
Today, after the last updates, I can tell you that there are sites ranking on short/long tail keywords that they aren't even mentioned once in their pages, nor they have links with these keywords.

These sites are simply considered the best on their topics and Google finds a way to drive them traffic (because they are 'the source of information').


 3:21 pm on Aug 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

@ Zivush



 3:59 pm on Aug 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

In other words, you used to be able to rank a page for "blue widgets" without even mentioning blue widgets, not even once on that page, as long as you had enough blue widget links point to it, aka a google bomb.

Ah..the smell of bacon polenta :) ..takes me back :)


 5:53 pm on Aug 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

Mobile versions of sites show that people are happy with simpler sites

But...I think it's important to consider if mobile users behave differently to PC users in your particular niche before you go down that route.

For example, when I'm on mobile I'm generally out doing something so I want the information as quickly as possible so I can continue doing something. At home or work, I have more time & often I am generally searching for more in-depth information so I want - and usually expect - more.

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