How Hummingbird and Panda 4.0 Affect Your Search Engines Ranking and Traffic to Your Website

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On the date of their 15th anniversary – September 26/ 2013 Google informally told participants about the launch of Hummingbird, new algorithm impacting more than 90 percent of searches worldwide. Google’s Amit Singhal later said it was perhaps the largest change to the algorithm since he joined the company back in 2001.

Hummingbird is a good move for search results and could be a great way for websites to gain more visibility if they focus on the user and the content first. Hummingbird sends a clear message that site owners should stop obsessing over keywords only and start focusing on creating on great experience for the site users. Instead of the old SEO proverbial question “How do I rank this query?” the new SEO- Search Engine Optimization – professionals need to figure out “How do I best answer the questions my users have?”

SEO now requires a keener understanding of your audience. It doesn’t start or end with keywords; rather, it starts with the user and an understanding of what your user wants.

When optimizing your website content, one needs to start with the user, execute with content and measure the results by page to increase visibility. Post-Hummingbird and post-secure search is all about measuring the content, not the keyword. You can start measuring what pages are generating the most value for you, and what types of content are generating the greatest ROI and rip your insight from that data.

The more relevant information you offer to your users, the more practical, tactical and useful content you create, the higher your site will rank in search engines.

Google’s vision aligns well with good marketing practices, so it’s worth paying attention to its advice. Another reason to listen is that, where once Google preached best practices only to get trounced by manipulative optimization techniques, the search engine has become adept at identifying and punishing websites that spam, manipulate ranking authority, publish low-quality content or otherwise breach Google’s terms of service. Thus the implementation of Hummingbird is supposed to encourage and to convince companies to create the types of content Google wants to feature in terms of topics, writing quality and crawlability.

The easiest way to begin optimization is to go through your current content and make sure it uses phrases that match how people think and search, such as abbreviated phrasing, popular among websites, may become a hindrance to search engines’ growing ability to process natural language.

Hummingbird adds some new updates as well, apparently, how well it identifies and handles context —it’s mostly reorganization, optimization and laying the groundwork for future improvements.

Links continue to reign supreme as the ultimate SEO authority signal. Over the last three years, both search engines and SEO professionals have said a lot about social media authority signals and continue to advocate a strong social media presence on the major sites (Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter and YouTube) that make sense for your business. Participate on smaller networks and niche sites, too, if you can reach target audiences with them.

Generate a steady stream of link worthy content. Your social media is your audience building, which should progress to relationship building, which should lead to link building. Keep reaching out to content authors and publishers; ask them to reference and link to your site but you have to offer them quality content, one which is worthy of recognition and sharing. For example if there is a famous restaurant or attraction near you, reach out by building relationships and ask them to include a link of your hotel on their website in return of the same favor on your behalf. You could provide transportation from your hotel to the restaurant or the attraction, a service which benefits both you and your partners and one that will definitely earn you a link and a back link from this relationship.

Google prefers brands and gives authority based on brand mentions in social media. Google hosts a vast database of brand names and can identify brands emerging into popularity by tracking trending and social media mentions. But, if you do not get a steady stream of tweets every time you publish a blog article or press release, chances are good your brand is too small or weak to earn significant ranking authority in this way. Being consistent in your social media posts and presence is possibly the best thing you can do to improve the search engine ranking of your hotel, brand, business and operation in general.

In the last month’s article we introduced you to Hummingbird. Now we want you to meet Google’s Panda 4.0 algorithm

Panda is reminiscent of your old math teacher, red pen hovering over your homework sheet, specifically focused on identifying and pushing down low-quality, spammy, thin, and scraped content – we will explain later- and promoting high-quality content that is useful for visitors. On May 20th, 2014 Google introduced another major update to their algorithm –Panda 4.0.

In order to rank a website, Panda sends documents to outside testers and asks them questions that assist to rate the site content, like” Would you be comfortable to give this site your credit card? Do you consider this site to be authoritative? Would it be okay if this was in a magazine? Does this site have excessive ads?”

During the process of collecting rating information, Panda’s engineers have formed what could be considered a definition of low quality websites. In addition, the Chrome Site Blocker launched prior to Panda allowed users to specify sites they wanted blocked from their search results. When the harvested data from both Panda and the Chrome Site Blocker was compared it overlapped by 84 percent, so that confirmed that they were in the right direction classifying high quality and low quality web content.

How is that relevant to your online business?

If you would like to test your website and website ranking, basically you need to ask your users or yourself to answer questions similar to those used by the Panda’s engineers as listed in the previous paragraph. Collect the information and ask your webmasters to make the necessary corrections to your content.

Here is some general advice of what to avoid if you don’t want to run into issues with Google Panda series of updates.

Thin Content: What is? When you search for something and get redirected to a page that provides very little value. It may briefly mention the query you provided, but it leaves you wanting more as the information is insufficient, unclear and/ or outdated. If you feel that you need to type another question after your first query to find more information, you have stumbled upon “thin content”.

Scraped Content: What is? When content resembles a patchwork of a quilt. Sometimes instead of writing fresh content or paying a writer, webmasters use the “copy and paste “method of gathering content chunks from other original websites. Since the content is second hand, it provides no values to the visitors, as chances are they have read it/seen it already. This one is big target for Panda.

Syndicated Content: Syndicated content is a compilation of useful information for visitors with other websites. If you cannot create original content and need to publish syndicated content, instruct search engines not to crawl/index the page with meta robots tag or point authority to the source with a rel=canonical link.

Deceptive Information: What is? When a site uses confusing and/or deceptive information to trick visitors into taking desired by the site owners action. Unethical webmasters “get” visitors by publishing thin or partial content about the subject they are interested and redirect them or impose conditions in order to access additional content. Such websites, when clicked, have a timed redirect or pop-up browser windows, taking visitors to an affiliate site upon entry to the intended website or ask for personal information prior to granting access to the website.

Fat content: What is? Fat content is when a webmaster tries to disguise a thin content in fancy “package” and rich narrative. Have you ever bought a bag of chips about twelve inches tall, only to find out that the chips inside fill only one third of the total space of the bag and the rest is air? In a similar fashion, some writers won’t research for quality information but would rather blow content up by using a flattery, expletives, adjectives and praise about service or product rather than give you honest and straightforward information.

The cause for all of these issues is simply carelessness. The website owners or the webmasters didn’t take the time or spent the money to create content that engages visitors in a meaningful or ethical way.

How to be on the good site of Google Panda? Provide relevant information that will address your visitors’ needs and questions. Know the needs and wants of your client, visitors, consumers and communicate the data to a professional SEO/ Hummingbird writer who can create unique and informative content. Create a solid content strategy and content marketing.

Websrefresh™ recommends that you consider running a brief satisfaction poll. Surely you have filled one of these “How did we do?” questionnaires online, where companies asks you to rate access their product or service? We can prepare the questionnaire or the poll for you, run it and harvest the data. Later, based on that priceless data we create Hummingbird and Panda preferred content for your website.

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