Panda Update | One Year After The Google Bomb! [Infographic]

It has been a year now since the infamous Google Panda update was covertly rolled out.

Now is probably a good time to do a bit of analysis on whether it has achieved what it set out to do.

Panda Update on Google

How has Panda altered the way people approach search engine optimization?

Did it succeed with what Google set out to achieve?

First of all…

What exactly is the Google Panda Update?

The Panda Update could be described as a clip-on rather than a change in the Google algorithm. The algorithm itself is one of the most closely guarded secrets in the world and it is amended and updated more than 500 times a year.

The Panda Update is run periodically to improve the quality of a searcher’s experience by providing search results that are as relevant as possible. It does this by penalising sites that appear to have thin or low value content.

The Update has been run ten times that we are aware of – the most recent one on January 18th of this year!

Who was the Panda Update targeting?

There had been a major build-up of poor quality content over the last few years. A huge number of Internet marketing programs were and still are being sold to new online marketers. The potential to make a ton of money by teaching people how to manipulate search engine results in order to make sales of products, businesses or services is just too attractive to resist for some people.

And the organic results were free!

A couple of years ago you could research a keyword, write an article, create a press release, make a video, post on a Web 2.0 site and publish a blog with almost identical content and you would end up with 5 or more positions in the search results on Page One for the keyword!

Wow!
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Oh No! SEO Fail Causes Search Engine Ranking Disaster in Australia!

It seems a large number of New Zealand and Australian businesses are seeking answers to search engine ranking difficulties between the two countries.

In a previous post “The Great Geographic Divide – Google Splits New Zealand And Australia” I talked about geographic modifiers and how many businesses are unaware of how important location is to search engine results.

Search Engine Ranking in Australia and New ZealandI also discussed how tough it can be to get traction in Google in the other country and how it seems to be easier to get US placement than Australian placement if you are a New Zealand business.

This post is based on my research into the poor performance of a local company who also has representation across the Tasman and who felt like they had tried everything without success to improve their Australian search engine ranking.

Here is how the websites are set up.

There are two sites on two different ccTLDs (country code top level domain). So one is website.co.nz and the other is website.com.au. The New Zealand site is hosted here in NZ and the Australian site is hosted in Australia.

So far, so good.

The sites are both optimised for a range of keywords and each page of the site has unique meta data. Yes, good as well.

I am afraid that is the end of the good news though.

The New Zealand site performs reasonably well on Google for most of the keywords on several of the site pages. Traffic figures for the main keywords in New Zealand I would describe as average. However, when I use Google Australia ( http://www.google.com.au/webhp) to search for the same keywords the Aussie site is nowhere to be found.

So, what is going on here?
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The Great Geographic Divide – Google Splits New Zealand And Australia!

This could rattle a few cages out there!

I am about to give away a little secret which many local SEO exponents would probably rather I didn’t…

But here goes!

When you type in your business keyword into Google you are only seeing what someone in your immediate location will see. This can be as precise as your town or city.

So, you were given those amazing global search volume figures for your keyword but after a search engine optimization campaign you were left wondering where the thousands of new customers were…

I have a bit of bad news for you!

If you are based in New Zealand, you are more than likely only ranking in New Zealand. And if you are in Auckland you are possibly only showing front page in Auckland results. Even the websites you have visited have an impact on what shows up on your front page Google results…

but that is for a separate post!

If you are based in Australia, you are more than likely not showing anywhere else in the world… just Google Australia!

Why?

Geographic modifiers are a major influencer in search. If you are based in a particular country then it is way more likely that you will be trusted by people in your own market, culture, ethnicity than some one who is across the ocean.
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Is Your Business Website Struggling Without Search Engine Optimization?

Let’s first of all clarify what SEO services are all about – here is a definition from Wikipedia

“Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the visibility of a website or a web page in search engines via the “natural” or un-paid (“organic” or “algorithmic”) search results.

In general, the earlier (or higher on the page), and more frequently a site appears in the search results list, the more visitors it will receive from the search engine’s users.  SEO may target different kinds of search, including image search, local search, video search, academic search, news search and industry-specific vertical search engines. This gives a website web presence.”

SEO Search Engine OptimisationThis sounds like a foreign language if you have never ventured into the world of online marketing. If you are a business owner who is considering having a website built – read on…

You have thrown the idea around about getting a website for some time now and you’re a bit skeptical and possibly a little nervous about it.  However, you are reluctantly coming to the realisation that you need to have a website.  So you ask around and see what it will cost you.   Anything from $3,000 – $10,000 (and often more) is what you hear.  That’s a lot of money to invest!

Here’s what usually happens.

You contact a website development company and immediately enter a strange world where people speak a different language.  After much discussion with the website developer and a lot of “techie” talk that makes you feel uncomfortable and completely out of your depth, you take the plunge and commission your website and hope like hell that the developer knows what he or she is doing.  The $7,500 you have just spent seems ludicrous and irrational, but you tell yourself “I have to have it – all my competitors have – and it will really grow my sales!”.
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Guess What! Google Hates Your New Business Website And Will Never Rank It!

Great!

I get a phone call today from a telemarketer who asks me first if I am a representative of High Profile Enterprises!

This will be interesting I think…

“Do you have a website Sir?”

I tell him “We would be a pretty unusual search engine optimization and social media management company if we didn’t – don’t you think?”

Anyway this is not intended to knock telemarketers at all – we employ them to reach businesses that are not online.

search engine optimization liesApparently the company he represents has built 2,000 websites for businesses…

“Cool, send me your portfolio – we are always looking for talented web designers to recommend”

Email arrives…

Damn I think! Flash based websites!

Reply:

Hi Sam,

Thanks for this information!

As I said we are a search engine optimization and social media management company and I was interested to see what your design work is like. I often get asked for web design referrals!

What I see are Flash based websites… tell me that isn’t so?

Flash is virtually invisible in the search engines – look at your page source – there is very little the search engine spiders can read!

I was also interested to read that you value keyword research and SEO to get your site to the top of 40 search engines including Google at $100.

I almost fell off my chair!

If you ever need any SEO advice don’t hesitate to contact me. Mind you we don’t promise to get flash based sites to the top of the search engines for your chosen keyword for $100! 🙂

All the best

Mike

……

So, in essence what we have here is a company which is selling fully search engine optimized websites for $799 promising top Google placement for a keyword of your choice, and they have lots of nice little audio touches and lots of cool visuals where things move and look amazing…

And the websites are almost invisible to the search engines!

Is this criminal?

No, but it should be!

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Did Google’s Panda Update Smash Article Marketing?

There has been much wringing of hands and much weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth about the latest and greatest Google algorithm update.

First of all if you were not aware of what the Panda Update was and what it was meant to do, here is a quick summary.

Panda update for SEOThe Panda update (sometimes called the Farmer Update) had a specific target in mind. When Matt Cutts (head of Google webspam) and his team of “spammer hunters and destroyers” formulated these changes they were going after some pretty common pests.

We know SEO has been packaged and sold to every online spammer and frantic marketing zealot out there –

“No wait, don’t leave this page! You can now get the front page of Google in 27 seconds for… no, not $697, not even $67, yes – you have just 14 seconds to buy at an amazing $27…

…oh, and a monthly fee of just $99… and in 14 seconds we will be taking down this offer foreeevvveeerrr!!!”

Yes, we have seen these so many times!
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