In a rare moment of “heads-up” transparency, Google announced that the latest version of the Panda update has been released. A Google Plus post from Pierre Far indicated a “slow rollout” anticipated to affect 3-5% of search queries but also including more signals to help identify low quality content in a better and more precise way. This is supposed to help smaller sites recover from previous penalty-related problems and is being welcomed by many as a small business friendly update to help smaller brands compete with the big headliners.

Does this mean that big brands should be running for the hills or waiting for a traffic wallop? Not at all, provided the content onsite has been produced thoughtfully, sensibly and with users in mind. The Hummingbird algorithm makeover was a good call to action for brands who had been cruising along on old-fashioned “SEO article” style content for a while in order to pad out their visibility with the view that “more was better.” Now quality over quantity is the absolute mantra – if you wouldn’t happily and proudly show off a piece of content on your website to your own dear mother, then it shouldn’t be there.

How then should brands respond to Panda 4.1?

  • Content auditing – take a good long look at your site analytics to see which content is performing well in terms of engagement, and consider reworking or dropping that which is sending the wrong signals. Keep an eye out for high bounce rates and low average times on page, as well as raw traffic.
  • Check content is serving a purpose – you should be able to tell from your analytics how much more (or less) likely people are to convert when viewing different types of content, whether you classify by length, type, media, author or whatever other metrics are relevant for your content team. If you don’t know, or can’t tell, we can help you get there.
  • Review your content strategy – if you’re just producing content with no real drive behind it then chances are it won’t be worth much to your users (and therefore your business). Every piece of content you produce should have a reason for existing beyond “we need content for our content marketing.” What information are you aiming to get across to users?
  • Thinking awareness, consideration and conversion can be a great starting point – but taking the mindset that not every content piece needs to specifically drive people into a conversion funnel somewhere down the line often leads to better quality and helps with talking conversationally around your brand’s areas of interest and expertise rather than getting too focused on the selling aspect. This is particularly valuable for the B2B arena which can often struggle with “what to talk about.”
  • Look to a multimedia rich approach – images, video, podcasts, transcripts/interviews, infographics and anything else you can think of. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket and keep your approach diverse and fresh – while of course keeping an eye on your analytics to see what works and what doesn’t.

If you’re struggling with making content meaningful for your brand, the 4Ps integrated approach to user-driven SEO services can help bring your content marketing into the same room as your brand and conversion optimisation, using a holistic approach to grow your visibility and your bottom line.

Google Panda 4.1

4Ps isn’t just another London SEO agency. To discuss how SEO, PR and content are evolving together in order to keep pace with new developments in user interaction and search algorithms, give us a call on +44 (0)207 607 5650 for a no-obligation coffee and chat about data, marketing and user behaviour across all inbound channels.