marketingmagic - 2:28 pm on Jun 2, 2011 (gmt 0)
I've been reading the Panda posts for months now and thought I'd share my plan with you guys. First some background on how panda impacted us...
Our site saw an increase in Google traffic after the April 11th panda roll out here in Canada - then on may 17th, when they released panda 2.0, we saw an equal % decrease.
I've been watching and reading the posts on others experiences, analyzing the stats and serps, as always, and have come to the conclusion that the panda series of updates is all about integrating real user data into the algo. G has access to user data that makes this possible. Unlike other SE's they have Analytics, Adwords, and of course data from their own search pages - combined this provides powerful data sets on what sites are "good" and what sites aren't.
So how do we game this new world? I believe it's a two step process. First create a world class site. This goes beyond slapping up some content on thin pages. It's about creating a site that's actually useful to users. This in turn decreases your bounce rates, increases time on site, increases conversions, all of which is tracked in your Analytics account and within Google's data on serps (ie. user performs a search, clicks on your site and doesn't return to perform another search).
The next step is one I haven't seen many people talking about - improving your back link profile. And I'm not talking about a light weight link campaign, I'm talking real growth of your back link profile, on a regular and ongoing basis. My rationale for this is that the site we saw growth on, after Panda 1.0, has major link authority, but because it's a relatively new site (8-10mths) it still has much growth to do in the back link area, hence the decrease after panda 2.0. You can create the best site in the world, that would provide a fantastic user experience, but if it's not in the top 10 Google's not going to be able to gather any meaningful (and positive) data on it. So in order to get vital and initial first page traction you need to greatly increase your back link count - this will drive your site to the top 10, then combine that with the positive user experience all your site improvements will provide, your rankings increase further and stick.
Yes this takes a ton of time and resources, but unless you're a world class brand already, with a TON of link authority that allows you to skate away with thin content, welcome to the new world. Search is evolving beyond simple static factors and that's not going to change anytime soon.
This is the direction I'm taking our bus anyways, hopefully I'm right. :-)
Feel free to share your thoughts!