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Recently I came across an excellent article by Razvan Gavrilas about Panda 4.0 which investigates several winners and losers in SERP visibility after the May 20th Panda algorithm update.
If this is the first time you are reading about Panda consider reading our previous article 9 Things You Need to Know to familiarize yourself with the latest Google algorithm update first.
By looking at the common themes between sites that had huge boosts in SERP visibility (as much at 900%) and sites that drops in SERP visibility Gavrilas developed 4 key takeaways to make your website “Panda Friendly”.
Needless to say these are all items we already stress to our clients.
1) Be an Authority
“Content Based Topical Authority Sites are given more SERP Visibility compared to sites that only cover the topic briefly … More articles written on the same topic increase the chances for the site to be treated as a “Topical Authority Content Site” on that specific topic.”
A lot of specific content covering your area of expertise is better than a load of generic content covering a wide range of semi-related areas. Think of this as if you have a pain in your foot. Would you rather see a Podiatrist or your Family Doctor?
2) Content Needs to Engage With Visitors
“Sites with High User Interaction measured by shares and comments got a boost.”
If you are providing good quality content that visitors are finding useful it is inherent that they will want to share it. User interaction can be things like forums, Social Shares, comments and so on. As Gavrilas points out, Google is looking for an active community that gathers people who share the same needs, desires or passions.
3) Stay Away from Thin or Automated Content
“Thin Content and Automatic content is deranked, even if it is relevant.”
Gavrilas bases this remark on a Matt Cutts quote from an earlier interview:
“Content that is general, non-specific, and not substantially different from what is already out there should not be expected to rank well. Those other sites are not bringing additional value. While they’re not duplicates they bring nothing new to the table.”
You need to do the opposite of what Cutts is saying here in order to achieve better SERP Visibility:
- Be specific.
- Be different.
- Bring value.
- Be unique.
Essentially – what do you have to offer that is above and beyond any other competing authority on the web? Thin content is like going to a job interview and stating all the same answers as the other candidates. What makes you better? You need to stand out in order to get the job, or in this case, catch Google’s attention.
4) Clear Navigation to Explore Your Unique Content
Sites with clear navigational structure and unique content got boosted.
Finally SERP visibility winners had strong navigation and structure throughout their website for visitors to easily find the information they need and explore related topics to what they were originally searching for. Think of a messy navigation like a library with no organization, where nothing is arranged by topic, author or type of book.
Glavrilas recommends that you look closely at your site structure and make sure every piece of content is relatively linked to other topical content on the site.
Need some help with your website content?
At 1st on the List we can help you develop a feasible long-term content strategy within your budget in order to establish your website as an authority. Contact one of our SEO Writing Consultants by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 1-888-262-6687.