SEO Experts and Content Farmers Face Pandapocalypse

April 6, 2011

Stephen E Arnold, managing director of and this writer’s nominal taskmaster, annoyed some of the SEO poobahs in Manhattan on Wednesday, March 30. Now Mr. Arnold is an old goose and has avoided becoming a Thanksgiving dinner for more than six decades. A little roasting in the Big Apple does not trouble the chief goose.

In his debrief, what was interesting was the reluctance of the Manhattan search engine optimization crowd to realize that the game of metatagging, backlink fiddling, and other SEO “secret methods” are going to continue to loose effectiveness. The shift has a number of contributing factors. These range from Google’s fear of losing online advertising traction to the younger crowd’s penchant for asking Facebook “friends” where to buy a pizza. Google for Facebook revenues. Not so hot for the Google which is in the midst of a giant wood burning stove. (Wood burning stoves frighten the feathered Mr. Arnold.)

We wanted to throw a small life preserver to the SEO experts who were so agitated at Mr. Arnold’s suggestion that SEO was in a heap of sticky tar. Search Engine Watch has published a round up of trick to fool the Google Panda. We love it when SEO articles include the word “tricks”. We prefer phrases like “money burners,” “tom foolery”, and “questionable practices.” But “Pandapocalypse” it is.

As you may know if you were one of the 25 percent of Web sites down checked by the Google Panda algorithm change, Google launched its new pet Panda to curtail content farms and improve its accuracy algorithm. Some web sites are experiencing a loss of Google rankings and traffic, but “Is the Google Pandapocalypse Near for the UK and Beyond?” offers insights to avoid the Panda’s wraith. The most sites affected by the Panda launch were content, health, and e-commerce. In response, Google suggests that companies focus on brand advertisement than relying solely on the search engine to generate traffic.

From this angle, web site proprietors should consider using a paid search, social media, newsletters, videos, and Google news/images. When applied carefully and effectively, each suggestion will bring more visitors to a page. Here’s a snippet for the SEO folks who are trying to explain why those SEO fees produced a negative drift for their increasingly curious clientele:

“One of the big ideas at SES New York was “content optimization.” Google and Bing are looking for quality content. Basically, consider Google a teacher, and your site the student. The Panda algorithm is a brand new grading system, so you must aim to make your site an A, rather than a B or C+. And as with any teacher, some students may not be graded in the same way as others for whatever reason.”

Take a look at your web site and see how it can be improved. Check the spelling and grammar, tone down the ads, minimize duplicate content and links from low quality web sites, fix broken links, and clean up your source code. Following these suggestions will help you overcome Panda and will definitely improve your web site’s quality.

A trick may work, just not consistently. Unfortunately, clients of SEO companies are asked to pay SEO invoices consistently. There is going to be dissonance going forward.

Whitney Grace, April 6, 2011


One Response to “SEO Experts and Content Farmers Face Pandapocalypse”

  1. Aaron Bradley on April 8th, 2011 1:19 pm

    There’s so much misinformation in this post I don’t know where to start.

    Let’s begin with optimization as a “game of metatagging, backlink fiddling, and other SEO ‘secret methods’.” Meta tagging is not a “game,” but a legitimate way of informing search engines *and* users about the topicality of a web resource (if you seriously doubt this I invite Beyond Search to do away with all of its title tags): “gaming” by using meta tags hasn’t worked effectively since about 1995. I don’t know if by “backlink fiddling” you mean building links to web pages to inform search engines *and* users about relevant resources, but it is perfectly possible to optimize websites by using the link environment in perfectly legitimate ways. As to those other “secret methods” the word “other” is certainly misplaced, as what was described were two perfectly well known optimization techniques. Where’s the secret.

    As for Danny Goodwin’s Search Engine Watch article, it appears you didn’t actually read it. You “love it when SEO articles include the word ‘tricks'” but this article didn’t. And rightfully so, because Goodwin’s suggestion for post-Panda optimization include things like using advertising more, building a brand’s social media presence, using more multimedia to attract readers, and making in general making websites more useful and usable – as you indeed enumerate. So how are these “tricks?”

    Content optimization is one of the “big ideas” coming out of SES NY? The concept has been prevalent, if not actually ascendant, in the SEO world for a decade. Indeed, the most used adage in regard to successful SEO – by its very practitioners – is “content is king.” Welcome to yesterday.

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