How Do You Recover if Google’s Panda 4.1 Hit Your White Label Dating Site?
Panda 4.1 went out in late September 2014 and the estimated impact was that it affected 3-5% of search queries. Since then there have been a couple of important updates, but this does not mean you forget the previous updates! Good content is essential and needs to be looked at on a regular basis.
Google’s Panda update has been the scorn of website owners and online dating businesses since it was first rolled out back in February 2011. In the following article this may sound a little dramatic, but if you’ve made sure your online dating site’s content is filled with relevance and depth, your users will appreciate it and Google will reward you with solid rankings.
Online Industry experts have said that the Panda 4.1 update was aimed at better identifying low-quality content, keyword stuffing and affiliate marketing. The 4.0 Panda update was released in May 2014, and its purpose was to strike at thin content and stop it from obtaining good rankings.
The winners and losers of the most recent Google update were news, content sites and download portals. The sites that seemed to take the biggest hit were online games, online dating sites, lyrics and medical portals. Basically, if your site offers VALUE FOR USERS, chances are your site was going to gain from the update.
The two best ways to protect yourself against future updates is to completely evaluate your content strategy. Ask yourself the following questions:
Is the content of my dating website a priority at present, or a means to an end?
Can I improve the quality of my writing throughout the site?
Do I need all of my old content?
Is it still relevant?
Can old content be removed or updated so it can benefit website visitors?
Would you read the content on your site if you were a visitor reading it for the first time?
Is your website easy to navigate? Does it need a refresh?
Do you have social sharing buttons on your posts?
Are people sharing them?
Once you have answered those questions, you can start to approach the improvement of your websites content, and better increase the chances of your search rankings improving due to your visitors finding something of worth when they visit your site. Two sure-fire signs of this are:
1) A potential increase in comments, (although some people have been scared of leaving comments since this became well know as an overused black hat SEO tactic)
2) An increase in social sharing on Facebook, Google+, Twitter and other social networks is a trusted sign that your content is working.
A great way to improve your content, besides better writing, is to link out to reputable sources that back up your theories and opinions. You can also embed YouTube videos into your web pages to add authority and keep users on your site for longer. Before Panda, you could rank well with 300 words of text stuffed with keywords. Not anymore. The more useful content you can add, the better the user experience. Well-researched and written posts of 1,000 words or more are much more likely to gain attention from users and Google than thin content, so put in the extra work and make your content shine. However don’t add paragraphs of fluff as content fillers, after all your content is aimed at engaging users, encouraging new sign ups and not just for SEO and the search engines.
Google released a post that details how to recover from Panda 4.1, where they reiterate what is often forgotten: That Google want to reward sites that bother to follow their guidelines and create content that has long-term value, and they are willing to penalise websites that don’t want to put in the effort and would rather spend more time trying to manipulate the system.
If you are hit by Panda 4.1, the last thing you need to do is sit around and complain about it, because unless you start to take action now, it will only get worse, and soon you will be receiving no web traffic at all to your online dating site.
Older websites are prone to Panda hits, especially if they are not updating their sites regularly. Visit any site that hasn’t been updated in five years or more, and the first thing you will notice – apart from the fact that it looks rather painful on the eye – is that the pages are condensed and hard to read, and the navigation is tough to follow. If the user experience isn’t solid, you are going to lose visitors, and you are likely to be hit by Panda as a result.
It’s important to remember that there is no instant improvement button to press if you are hit by Google’s Panda 4.1. All you can do is check Google Webmaster Tools for any manual penalties – and put them right if you can – and concentrate on improving all the content throughout your ENTIRE site. Go through every nook and cranny of your site and be brutally honest. If it isn’t bringing something to your site and is not going to be of use to your visitors, get rid of it, or do everything you can do to improve it. Google aren’t going to penalise a great site, so make sure yours hits the right note throughout.