In light of the recent Panda changes, if you decided to hell with googles advice about building for the user and decided to build just for Panda only what would changes would you make to rebuild your site?
Just throwing ideas, not real suggestions of course, but I think the topic is interesting. Hypothetically, you could force users to click around with a "click here to read the rest of the article" to improve your bounce rate. You could offer something for free, like a download, but demand that users click a LIKE facebook button to increase social media presence. I would definitely go for a super nice graphic design with eye candy. I would write articles that please the masses to stimulate linking in social networks (latest celebrity scandal, for example).
If you do it for Panda then you will not design for the user in many, many niches. But you have to do what you have to do.
Panda LOVES slideshows, an article broken in 20 slides, that's how 'quality' is defined by Google. We find out 3 months later that putting the content in one page for ease of reading is bad, since the user leaves quicker than having to click 20 times to read the same content.
koan: "click here to read the rest of the article" is one of my "pet peeves". It will certainly decrease your bounce rate, but that isn't the correct user engagement metric to be using in that case. There are probably three relevant user engagement metrics that you should be using on article pages: 1) percent of users that read the entire article 2) percent of users that click to other parts of the site 3) percent of users that convert (click on ads, sign up, purchase, etc)
For SEO, Google probably cares most when users return to google and click on something else or refine their search. Your attempt to decrease bounce rate would hurt the metrics that Google uses and actually hurt your site from an SEO perspective.
I've always built for the user, I was doing that years before Google existed, that's nothing new whatsoever.
I have been building a new site all the way through this Panda malarky and it has not changed my vision one bit, I knew what I was going to do and how I was going to do it, Google never, ever once entered into my equation.
Quite a few pages are doing pretty well already, the more competitive terms have been picked up but not yet up on the first couple of pages of Google, FWIW Bing hasn't picked up on any of them yet!
What have I done differently?
I'm using the same template and corporate layout structure, I've made my meta descriptions even more very, very focussed with precisely the same text on page too. Normally I use 500 x 500 images but this time I am using 600 x 800. I was very hesitant to do this considering page load times would increase for those on dial-up etc however that does not seem to have been an issue.
What I have done extra is add more generalised fluff to the product description where none/little basically exists anywhere.
And the result of this is the pages do look fantastic yet I am competing against awful pages with crap images and no descriptions whatsoever therefore the lesson is probably this:
1. Build an absolutely garbage keyword domain site and G will love you
2. Build a quality, informational site and whatever replaces Google may possibly love you
3. Get a big fat wallet out, which is undoubtedly Google's mentality, and pay your way for enquiries/orders/etc.
Me? As I wrote, stuff Google, I know my trade, they haven't a clue:-)
An addendum...add fluff...add flufff...pad it out.
I have just been checking 7 important keyword combinations I have with my Coppermine gallery and responsible for thousands of daily referrals. All have ranked #1 since the gallery was created and now not one of them do, all have been replaced by much smaller image pages but all have one thing in common...fluff...some correct fluff but mostly padding fluff with, in several cases, completely incorrect fluff.
That's what Google wants, hot air, it doesn't matter if the hot air is of very questionable quality, that's what they want...pfffffffft!