Matt Cutts confirmed the impending release of a Panda update at the recently concluded SMX West. This update is the 25th update since Google rolled out the Panda algorithm, and Cutts said to expect it at the end of last week. You may have noticed a slight movement in rankings towards the end of last week – many believe this is the new algorithm update taking effect.
Integrating into Gradual Algorithm Updates
Cutts also announced they were integrating Panda updates into their regular algorithm updates. This means the effects of each update will not be as drastic as the previous 24 confirmed updates. It also means Panda will now be part of their gradual indexing process. Any changes to this specific algorithm will not be released at once as a big update anymore. Instead, Google will release updates gradually over several days.
In line with this integration, Google will stop announcing and confirming Panda updates. They had already started with this update: Cutts confirmed an update was coming, but Google did not confirm that the shift in rankings we felt over the weekend was its implementation.
What This Means for Search Marketers
This gradual integration of Panda into Google’s regular indexing process and Google’s cessation of announcements mean you can expect less drastic changes in your rankings and in its place will be more gradual movement.
What it also means is that you have to be more vigilant at preparing for these unannounced updates than ever before. You don’t know when Google will release an integrated algorithm update that can seriously hurt your visibility on the Google SERPs. It pays to be ready and to follow Google’s guidelines to ensure long-term success in search optimization.
Here are some of the tips Cutts gave to keep your rankings consistent through future algorithmic updates:
Reputation will matter more in the future. Google has already started showing the importance of online reputation and social engagement through their authorship feature. Cutts recommends that you optimize your Google+ profile and add authorship mark-up to your websites. This is true for both individual accounts and business profiles.
Build good quality links. Do not abandon your link building efforts just because social is on the rise. According to Cutts, the best way to maintain your rankings is to build quality links today because it will continue to provide value for a long time.
Be relevant to your audience. Google’s algorithms (not just Panda) are evolving to reflect user intent and online search behavior, and they intend to filter out as much of the “noise” as possible. Learn what your audience wants to know and create quality content to ensure you aren’t filtered out of the Google SERPs.
See what you can improve on your website, and do it. Cutts gave two examples: adding an auto complete feature, which will help facilitate the buying process when your market is ready to convert; and cleaning up your backlinks using the disavow tool. Do a site audit and see what on-page and off-page elements you can change to make Google trust your website.
The best way to prepare for future Panda and other Google algorithm updates is to follow Google’s guidelines and to prepare ahead of time. Contact your account manager today or log into your dashboard to get started on your SEO campaign, or sign up for free if you’re not yet our member. Keep checking back for more industry news and updates!