There is a lot of talk around about the new Google Farmer/Panda algorithm and how it has killed many sites, some of them reporting up to 90% reduction in visitors arriving to their site through search results.
The most important thing to remember is that Google’s aim in life is to deliver relevant content to people who search for information, which is true for both standalone dating sites and private label dating sites. Their algorithms are designed to achieve this, and are and will constantly change to improve the results delivered. Their criteria are and remain as ever quality results. As long as your niche dating site is relevant to the search query you will not have much of a problem. The new release of Google’s algorithm currently only affects English speaking sites but it is expected to be rolled out to other languages soon and will affect our multi-language private label and affiliate program. As ever there have been problems and Google is constantly tweaking the algorithm so some dating sites that have lost traffic are regaining it as they perfect the process.
To give you an indication of what it now considers a quality dating site, relevant to a search query Google lists the following as “questions that one could use to assess the ‘quality’ of a page or an article”:

  • Would you trust the information presented in this article?
  • Is this article written by an expert or enthusiast who knows the topic well, or is it shallower in nature?
  • Does the site have duplicate, overlapping, or redundant articles on the same or similar topics with slightly different keyword variations?
  • Would you be comfortable giving your credit card information to this site?
  • Does this article have spelling, stylistic, or factual errors?
  • Are the topics driven by genuine interests of readers of the site, or does the site generate content by attempting to guess what might rank well in search engines?
  • Does the article provide original content or information, original reporting, original research, or original analysis?
  • Does the page provide substantial value when compared to other pages in search results?
  • How much quality control is done on content?
  • Does the article describe both sides of a story?
  • Is the site a recognized authority on its topic?
  • Is the content mass-produced by or outsourced to a large number of creators, or spread across a large network of sites, so that individual pages or sites don’t get as much attention or care?
  • Was the article edited well, or does it appear sloppy or hastily produced?
  • For a health related query, would you trust information from this site?
  • Would you recognize this site as an authoritative source when mentioned by name?
  • Does this article provide a complete or comprehensive description of the topic?
  • Does this article contain insightful analysis or interesting information that is beyond obvious?
  • Is this the sort of page you’d want to bookmark, share with a friend, or recommend?
  • Does this article have an excessive amount of ads that distract from or interfere with the main content?
  • Would you expect to see this article in a printed magazine, encyclopedia or book?
  • Are the articles short, unsubstantial, or otherwise lacking in helpful specifics?
  • Are the pages produced with great care and attention to detail vs. less attention to detail?
  • Would users complain when they see pages from this site?

As you can see, it is very article and information related and therefore the sites that have been affected the most have been content farms, those with articles and news such as eHow, eZines and Squidoo, so those of you who do marketing through articles will be most heavily impacted. Social media and ecommerce sites have not been affected that badly and some have reported improvements in the placements, though there are some reports that some e-commerce sites that just paste manufacturers descriptions instead of writing their own copy have been relegated in the search results because of duplicate content.

Duplicate Content

Google are trying to weed out “non authoritative” and duplicated content and are giving more weight to the actual content of the article and the authority or trustworthiness of the publisher and sites in general instead of relying on just keyword densities and SEO techniques. They are analyzing and trying to detect useful sites to display to their searchers and not sites that are just spam which rely on copied material, white or black hat techniques. A few years back whenever I googled my own niche dating domain names I was not even on the first page due to all the people scamming off my URL, comparison sites, directories reviewers who then directed visitors to other sites where they got affiliate commissions and such, nowadays the amount of spam sites thanks to continuing Google updates, are very few and limited to some review sites and domain info sites listed way below my own, which mostly link back to mine so I am not concerned. In general I welcome updates to search algorithms that weed out all the spam and this new release has actually helped my sites on the Dating Factory network in terms of organic search results.
So what should one do to keep in Google’s good books, and rank well in the organic search results?

  1. Write unique titles and meta-tag descriptions. The default ones we provide are unique as we insert your website name automatically but to stand out you need to write your own; include the keywords which you want to rank well for. Your meta description will be displayed in the search results so make sure they are a selling tool as well.
  2. The importance of the URL you have chosen will not be as influential in the organic search results as before ( it still has a large influence on paid search) but still choose a good URL that tells your visitors what your site is about, is memorable and easy to write.
  3. Try niches, you will rank much better for “vegetarian dating in London” rather than just dating all over the world. I did a search on for dating, and got around 500 million results, while for vegetarian dating London I got 304 thousand, You would have a much better chance of ranking in search results with less competition. Create multiple sites for each niche and cross link them to create backlinks and cross sell to your visitors.
  4. Write some text for your niche dating sites. Most of our templates have a text box somewhere, if the one you have chosen does not have one, contact your account manager and or send him the text you want included on your landing page for incorporation. Write your own text, don’t copy and paste from another site. Tell your visitors what they can expect from your site, sell benefits, not just features, example “video chat so there are no surprises when you actually meet” ( you can use the benefits to pad out your text and insert more relevant keywords). Write clearly, grammatically correct and no spelling mistakes. Not only is Google detecting this but also your visitors will have more trust in a site that is made with a bit of care.
  5. Make sure where possible that you have member’s profiles on your home page, these get rotated and changed for every view and provide unique user generated content. Be careful though, some sites like extramarital affairs and such may require a bit of discretion to gain the trust of users so it is not a good idea to splash profiles all over your landing page.
  6. Make sure all the images, including your logo have alt tags which are relevant to the site. If there is a picture of a couple, don’t just label it “couple” label it “couple who met on a dating site”, this will rank you in the image searches as well.
  7. If you are doing article marketing make sure you are using your own material, original and well written, do not use spinning and do not submit the same article to many sites. The Panda release is looking out for this a lot more than the older algorithms.

From the Dating Factory side, we continue to monitor changes and updates that could affect you rankings and are continually optimizing our private label and affiliate dating system to meet the guidelines provided by the search engines.
Happy marketing!