24 responses

  1. Hard Boiled Greg
    November 4, 2011

    I have been making a living for the past three years with niche websites that have been merely “good enough”. The Panda update on October 13 severely shook things up for me and coming to the same realizations you outlined in your article has been a rude awakening.

    The irony is that the more you become a genuine authority and depend less on Google for traffic, the more Google needs your site for its search results to be relevant.

    I’m embracing the changes and am genuinely excited about my new “passion” projects.


  2. Tomás
    November 4, 2011

    I like your approach to Google Panda based on user experience rather than specific factors. A lot of people is worried about their SEO practices, and about what they can modify to recover from the blow, but it’s that simple: think about the user. Best regards!

  3. Joseph Ratliff
    November 4, 2011

    Great post Evan!

    I’ve always subscribed to the “writing for people” instead of the “writing for computers” philosophy — and I’m rewarded accordingly. Panda won’t affect those with strong networks and marketing skills.

  4. Pete Morris
    November 4, 2011

    If Panda is about bringing quality content and a great experience to Google’s users, then it’s only going to benefit those of us who want to provide the same thing in the long run. I think Google have made some fantastic changes this year, which should hopefully benefit people. With a long term viewpoint of their market.

    One problem I’ve not figured out how to overcome, is the problem of gaining a following In a market that doesn’t naturally seem to have a ‘crowd’. Suppose you’re in a very mundane niche, promoting an item that everyone needs, but nobody is likely to be passionate about. Say you want to be an authority in refrigerators, for example! It’s the kind of thing that people want information on when they are purchasing, but probably aren’t going to engage socially in a ‘refrigerator community’ – if the key indicator of authority in Google’s eyes is going to be social followers, it could make things a bit difficult in some niches.

    Trying to think creatively in order to attract a small following in one such niche that I’m in! I’ve noticed a new website coming up in the niche who’s owner is doing spammy black-hat stuff to rank (and doing very well I might add). Will be interesting to see if engaging on a social level and building a brand will help my site maintain its ranking.

    • Peter Lawlor
      November 5, 2011

      Hi Pete,

      I too am in a niche that doesn’t inspire community/social following. It’s a physical product site akin to refigerators. I’ve tried a few things for building a social following, but it hasn’t worked. It’s one of those 1-time purchases (big ticket item). Once someone buys it, they aren’t going to spend more time researching it.

      Presently I’ve abandoned any hope of building a community and instead run like a traditional physical product affiliate site. It earns decently without taking too much time. I’m content with that.

      I place the usual sharing buttons on the site but that’s about it. Instead, I focus on generating outstanding content and trust that the lack of community won’t matter. My traffic doubled since Panda on this particular site so it seems so far that a community isn’t necessary.

      One solution that could work to some degree, but doesn’t really interest me for my project at this time, is to look more broadly. For example, refrigerators are in the food market and the kitchen reno market. You could, conceivably, jump into the food and/or kitchen reno market where there probably is interest in the social/community aspect.

      The problem with this, though, is whether spending boatloads of time in these larger markets result in more regrigerator sales? Maybe. I suspect the reno market would be better. It’s one approach to consider.

  5. Charlie
    November 4, 2011

    Google Panda did not affect anyone who was doing SEO the correct way. Luckily, Google Panda filtered out a lot of irrelevant web sites that were essentially a mish mosh of random keywords for Google to pick up. I’m happy for the changes Panda brought about and hope they continue to weed out a lot of spam sites. Thanks!

    • John Robert
      November 7, 2011

      No there great bloggers who post unique contents that are affected too. I don’t know if that’s for long but it’s sure a pain for them. It is so unfair on their part.

    • Scott
      November 8, 2011

      I’m sure that Google intended to do what you said, but in reality, there are many irrelevant web sites that still rank high. I dropped significantly in the rankings and one site that is ahead of mine has exactly 1 page with non-unique content and has a total of 21 links to it. I’ve noticed other authority sites in my niche and with my keyword that also dropped and are anything but spam sites. They provide great value and tons of unique content. I hope that my site will eventually come back, but we’ll see. I actually saw my site return to its former place for one day a couple of weeks ago and then saw it drop back the next day.

  6. Find Freedom
    November 4, 2011

    I’m really ok with the Panda. If your content is useful then you will be fine. It’s the spammers and the content theft that will suffer from this. Great post!

  7. Emma
    November 5, 2011

    Hi Lynn

    Thanks for the advice. I jumped back about 100 spots on google over the past 2-3 weeks and hope that my good quality content additions will help me climb higher. HOw were your sites affected if at all?


  8. Peter Lawlor
    November 5, 2011

    I definitely noticed that my authority-intended sites improved after Panda and my smaller sites that didn’t achieve any kind of authority dwindled in rankings after Panda.

    In fact, my few sites that are large and approaching authority that have plenty of unique content that is updated regularly have terrific traffic trajectories since Panda.

    Google’s ongoing search engine development is, in my view, a tremendous opportunity for small local businesses. I run an offline local business and the blog is one of the biggest and most active among all my competitors in a large geographic area. This site’s traffic doubled in the last 6 weeks and continues to climb. This has been a huge boon for that business. While my competitors shovel money into PPC and Yellow Pages, I spend nothing and instead write a few decent posts each week that bring in clients consistently.

    I’ll end with one other point about the value of organic SEO. I was talking to a competitor/colleague lately (a friend) and they do PPC with poor conversion results (I’m talking to him because we’re discussing a JV of sorts). Their site is professional in design. PPC costs them $2K per month. I see their ads all the time. They desperately want to drop the PPC (hence we’re in discussions).

    My point is that top organic search listings, in my experience, result in better conversion for business websites. I have no empirical evidence; only anecdotal and my personal experience. I do very little PPC for my offline business (sometimes I’ll do a promo), yet my conversion is excellent because I focused on organic SEO and rank well.

    My theory is that consumers perceive a top-ranking website in the organic listings as the best business in the industry. Perhaps they believe Google ranks the top sites based on the business’ quality … I’m not sure. I doubt they’re cognizant of it, but it’s an instinctive response.

    Yes, I’m dependent on Google. It’s a concern and always will be. However, I’m confident that as long as I write great posts, don’t do any stupid black hat stuff, I’ll have no problems. It’s been 2 years and Panda only helped this site.

  9. Judith
    November 7, 2011

    Hi Evan,
    You’ve made me think twice about how to approach my niche thinking I may be too broad. I am a new site so this information is vital to my moving it forward to give people information so they can make better decisions that comes from my own research.

  10. Mike
    November 7, 2011

    I think a lot of people want to believe that the Panda updates greatly favor “quality” content, and I use the word “quality” loosely because everyone always says their site has nothing but quality content.

    However, I can still show you tons of sites that are on top of SERPs with horrible, and in some cases barely readable, content.

    You can find people posting in forums everyday saying they are giving up on SEO. I will tell you that SEO still works. It still works the same as it always has. If you focus on two things, good on-page SEO, including a well thought out internal linking strategy, and quality backlinks from pages (not domains) with high pagerank, you will be able to rank for most keywords.

    Those two things have worked for a long time and still work today.

  11. Terrie
    November 7, 2011

    Hi Evan,

    Thanks for the great post. I am a relatively new blogger/marketer. My sites are all content written by me. I was beginning to wonder if I was doing it right because my pages haven’t ranked very well.

    It’s good to hear that what I am doing should end up paying off!

  12. Steve
    November 8, 2011


    Great points. If you want to succeed it is all about writing for people and not for the machines. The Google Algorithm will only get smarter and smarter and be able to read our writings with more of a “person” in mind anyway.

    It is best to build that authority and try to really pass on quality information. Some ‘tactics’ might gain you quick success, but in the long run only quality will count.

  13. David
    November 9, 2011

    I hear many experts these days complaining about how Google is being unfair to their websites and blogs. I personally think that Google is the best thing ever happened to the web. Would you like to find misleading garbage information when you’re looking for a solution to a problem bothering you? Of course not!

    I believe that if someone wants to survive Panda or even “Tiger”, they need to provide value and promote it through legit platforms (such as social media platforms, quality blogs…etc). This way, everyone makes sure that even Google, Facebook or whatever big player can’t affect their influence.

    The things to look for when evaluating your quality is to notice red flags and try to make them “white”. I mean if your bounce rate is close to 100%, you sure have to act quickly before Google does.

    H David

  14. Mark Dulisse
    November 9, 2011

    Well honestly Panda is more than just making authority sites. Its mainly about Google wiping out all affiliates and they are going to get there sooner or later.

  15. Emma
    November 9, 2011

    The funniest thing happened today. Although I fell back to about the 20th page of google this week (from about the 10th) my site was now ranked as a PR1 today! That’s good right – since the site is only 2 months old (mind you it has some good solid content after around 5 posts every week so far)…

  16. Ty
    November 12, 2011

    That’s exactly what Google wants us to do: focus on our users. If website owners focus more on the visitors, and what they want, then the websites themselves will become higher quality.

  17. Samantha
    November 14, 2011

    At the dawn of the internet there was a lot of quality content. This was to the go-to place for information on a variety of topic. Unfortunately the “information” grew worse and worse and people began complaining.

    Google is trying to change all that so I look at it as a clean slate for internet marketers who want to make a better impact and more profits by offering quality.

    Hire a writer dedicated to delivering quality content, be open to new ideas and creative ways to present the content, and watch your visitors become loyal clients and fans.

  18. Mugin
    November 14, 2011

    Hi Lynn, great articles about Googl3 Panda!

    I agreed with you. now, googl3 tend to be more selective in indexing website, imo, the point is – we should consistent, writing unique and useful content for people. Forget about SEO, pay attention for the content of your website.

  19. Azhar
    November 18, 2011

    Google panda has introduced quality. All those sites that have poor structure and low quality contents are penalized by the Google. 2011 is the year of change in SEO.Professional webmasters have welcomed these changes.

  20. Tom
    November 18, 2011

    One thing I like about the Panda is that it focuses in giving relevant and quality search results. I’m sick and tired of the SERP’s before dominated by low quality websites.

  21. Ivan Satya
    November 28, 2011

    Hi Evan, Great post on Panda. I definitely agree with you on the take that focusing on the human aspect should be put first. By this I mean both focusing as an authority in a niche for one side and focusing on the quality and value of content for your readers on the other side.

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