SEO as we know it changed drastically with Google’s “Panda Update.” search rank or index at a higher value within the Google space.
Essentially, the Panda Update draws on scalable machine learning to quantify how much users actually “like” a site. Tons of metrics go into deciding whether a site is one that should receive a page 1 or page 7 listing. Factors such as Time On Site, Browse Rate, Bounce Rate, and Diversity of Traffic help this new algorithm determine the user’s experience, ultimately ranking the site appropriately.
The controversy surrounding this new algorithm speaks to the game-changing effect it has made on SEO. No longer can websites pack thousands of pages with keyword-biased content into austere text boxes and expect prominent search results. The goal is weeding these “spammy” URLs out of search results and only presenting the highest quality sites. The onus now is on the site’s design and functionality, rather than automated, bland text boxes.
In the end, your site needs to bring the “wow” factor. People need to like the feel of the design, want to share/tweet the site with friends, even be able to trust it with a credit card number. The content must be human in tone and contribute useful information. The Panda Update did change SEO, but I believe it changed it for the better. The web is more social, more intuitive and more sophisticated than ever — Search (Google) has evolved in kind.
We look forward to your notes and comments below. Let us know what has been working for you and if you’re a proponent/opponent of the Panda Update.