Google's Panda back from the dead

Posted by Robert Cerff in Search on 02 December 2015

Tags: content marketing, seo

Google has over the years released notable updates that have resulted in chaos and general hysteria amongst webmasters and online marketers globally. As such, updates are often reported through various marketing channels as they are recorded. 


1) What Changed? 

We saw noticeable changes in traffic and general visibility over the second half of October. It was widely reported that the next big “Google Panda” update would take several days to roll out. This update, aimed at poor quality content, would target websites that appeared to be farming low quality content by scraping (or copying) content from other websites. 

While Google have in the past announced big updates or specific algorithmic updates, such as Panda or Penguin, Google have remained uncommitted as to what exactly this update entailed. As John Mueller, webmaster trends analyst at Google, tweeted: “…We make 100s of changes every year. Don’t have anything more specific to announce, sorry!”  This would suggest that either this is a general algorithm change, that he’s unaware of a specific algorithm update or is choosing to be non-specific. 

With Google rolling out multiple changes over any period of time, it may be difficult to identify a specific update. 
It was noticeable that this change seemed to affect both desktop and mobile users equally, regardless of whether the change was positive or negative. This would then suggest that this wasn’t a usability update. 


2) Google Algorithm: Panda 

After about of year of relative inactivity, was this Google's Panda back from the dead? Multiple webmaster forums including industry leaders reported that this update appeared to have focused primarily on the quality of content on a website. This was seen as running parallel to the Panda update of 2014 with webmasters who’d seen a significant change over this time once again recording notable changes with the algorithmic shift. 

This update was referred to as another “Panda” update, “Panda 4.0”, the “Zombie Panda” update or simply the “Halloween” update due to the proximity of this holiday. In many ways this was seen as the return of what had previously been a heavy handed update. 

Google’s Panda algorithm was heavily at work, sifting through websites and quite mercilessly cutting out content that it deemed to be duplication, of low quality or of little substance. This process saw Google drop many pages out of its index and subsequently a number of low quality sites loose significant search visibility. 


3) Why your content is so important

We know that Google values unique, well written content higher than other user generated content. Regardless of the update, quality content will be given priority over other system generated content. Similarly other web users are more likely to link back to information that can’t be found, easily, elsewhere on the internet. This helps consolidate your position as an authority in your area or expertise. 


4) Content opportunities on your website 

Your real estate website is the perfect platform to add unique content on a regular basis. Pay special attention to: 

Area profiles 

Area profiles allow you to showcase your area to prospective clients. While this is a great space for unique content that will keep Google happy, it is also an opportunity to position yourself as an area specialist. Providing prospective clients with information that they can find nowhere else will illustrate to them that you are the brand to represent them should they want to invest in your area. Not sure what to include? Here are some ideas: 

  • Schools in the area 
  • Attractions 
  • Prominent business parks (for commercial property specialists) 
  • Amenities 
  • A call to action 

News articles 

Your prospective clients have questions, so make sure that you have the content they need to make an informed investment decision. Adding unique, relevant content with a few real estate keywords will do wonders for SEO, position you as a property expert and a helpful resource. 

Stuck for content ideas? Here are a few resources for unique real estate content.  

Listings 

Make the most of your property descriptions by keeping them unique to ensure that each listing will stand out and become more relevant for specific/ longtail searches  

Want to improve your property descriptions? Here's how.

 

While Google often shifts their algorithm to favour some ranking signals over others, the most consistent ranking factor remains unique, useful content. Google are dedicating algorithmic updates to weeding out low quality websites, or those seen to have thin content, can you run the risk of hosting below par content?

If you don't have the time or resources to add unique content to your website frequently, consider outsourcing. Prop Data Content will create unique, SEO-friendly content for your real estate business that will help to establish you as a property expert.