Google Panda Updates 2011 - 2012My first week of 2012 has been filled with reading. I’m still on vacation, so I’m still enjoying the fact that I can sleep in and sit with my laptop in front of the TV in my jammies. I’m gearing up for the real world, though, which starts Monday for me. In doing so, I find myself doing a ton of reading – the latest updates, releases, blogs, etc.

Thankfully, for my holiday-induced sluggish brain, a whole lot didn’t happen while I was away. Now that I’ve started to shake off the holiday haze, I’m wondering when things will start to pick back up in the SEO world. By that, I mean when will Google start playing with new updates, when will Yahoo, Paypal, Facebook and all the other major players start wreaking havoc on us industry players?

That question got me thinking about Google’s Panda & Freshness updates, which by the way, were a God send, IMHO. As an SEO Copywriter and content marketing strategist, at least 50% of my day is spent writing and reading, and the rest into marketing, analytics, strategy, and so on.

So, to have a search engine finally put forth an effort to provide me with more quality content – well those were very exciting times for me – still are, actually.

Here’s what Google was up to in 2012:

  • Panda Update 1.0: Feb. 24, 2011
  • Panda Update 2.0: April 11, 2011
  • Panda Update 2.1: May 10, 2011
  • Panda Update 2.2: June 16, 2011
  • Panda Update 2.3: July 23, 2011
  • Panda Update 2.4: August 12, 2011
  • Panda Update 2.5: Sep­tem­ber 28, 2011
  • Panda Tweak:  Octo­ber 3, 2011
  • Panda Tweak Octo­ber 13, 2011
  • Panda Tweak: Novem­ber 18, 2011

So far, I haven’t seen or heard anything to suggest that Google will slow down on it’s quick-changing algorithms. Nor should they. I think it’s fair to say they made some great headway in 2011, and there’s plenty of room to continue into 2012.

What can you do to ensure you’re not negatively affected by these updates?

  • Stop chasing the algorithms. They are designed to sniff out sites that are trying to trick it. So don’t. Instead, build a content strategy that focuses on building relationships online and off, and provide your readers with the information they want and need. If you do that, Google will naturally be drawn to your pages, which means higher rankings in the SERPs. Even more importantly it means users will share your content and continue to come back for more.
  • Clean up duplicate content. This is a biggie. Too many sites aren’t even aware of all their duplicate content issues, especially highly syndicated sites. You can be sure that Google will continue to crack down this year, so take inventory of all your content and clean up the duplicates with canonicalization wherever possible, and cut back on low-quality syndications.
  • Stop creating useless content just for the sake of putting words on a web page. This is the most common mistake I see from clients. Yes, you need to build content. No, you do not need to publish crappy content. It’s far better to put out 3 fantastic blog posts that will have readers sharing and clamoring for more than it is to have 20 blog posts that no one reads. No social sharing, no link love, no loyal readership. You do the math.

In another post, Less is More – Quality Content, I talk about writing clean, tight copy. The less is more concept also applies to the quantity of content you’re producing. Above all else, think high-quality (not high-volume) and you’ll be on your way to dominating the SERPs and increasing conversions in no time.