Quite simply the Google Panda updates during 2011 have proved to be a game changer to anyone trying to optimise their website. Google have finally developed the tools to penalise those sites that are set up and designed simply to scrape content, promote advertising and generally add very little to the sum of human knowledge.
Google has been able to identify a lot of these things prior to the Panda update; it’s just that now they are acting on it and in some cases perfectly legitimate websites are getting caught in this net.
We had an example earlier this week where a long standing business had previously launched landing pages with virtually identical content but just a change in the geography. The aim of course was to rank highly for their product type in a particular location.
Hence they had a page for ‘Universal Widgets Nottingham’ which was essentially the same as the page for ’Universal Widgets Liverpool’ bar the name change. And of course, this makes sense when they are selling the same widget no matter where you live; why should you need to change the content of each page?
Sadly this week we spotted that over half of the pages that the client had previously launched like this were now missing from the index – Google had simply removed them from its index and was no longer showing them. Not only were they missing from the index but naturally there was a steep drop off in traffic and revenue from this.
Luckily we’ve been able to retrieve the situation by creating new pages, deploying canonical tags and putting in some redirects where appropriate. In short, we’ve managed to claw a small victory back from the jaws of defeat.
So what should you do if your site has been penalised? Well, the first thing is to talk to a professional SEO firm and understand what has happened to your site and why. Then you can formulate a plan to get back the positions and rankings that you have lost. It may not be cheap but then again how much business are you losing?
Aqueous Digital are available on 0800 285 1424.