Panda - Bearing with Google's algorithm changes

Google this week published a blog post discussing its Panda algorithm change in more detail.

In particular, the search engine says its roll-out of the update was intended to penalise sites with low-quality content by moving them down the search rankings. Naturally, somebody has to take their place, so good-quality sites move up.

The interesting thing is in the wording though:

"Our site quality algorithms are aimed at helping people find 'high-quality' sites by reducing the rankings of low-quality content."

That, in effect, means a first-place ranking is the default position for any page on Google. Of course it is - if yours is the only page containing a given term, you're bound to rank in first (and only) place on Google SERPs for that query.

So 'optimisation' in the sense of tweaking page content to try and make it rank higher is something of a backwards approach. It's not about getting to the top of Google - it's about staying at the top of Google.

I truly believe the easiest way to rank first for the term of your choice is to add a new page of content optimised for that term from the outset. Plugging keywords into existing text makes things so much harder.

Rolling with it

The other thing to realise is that you can't make a page now that will always be the best in terms of its search visibility.

Google's blog post reveals that the search engine's algorithms have changed a further twelve or more times since Panda, as part of around 500 enhancements to the Google search process expected by the end of the year.

While you can't guarantee that a page will retain its top ranking forever, you can make sure that its content remains engaging and increases the chance of converting the visitors that it does get in the future.

Make your content appealing from the outset and you're halfway there - halfway not only to attracting readers and selling them... well, whatever you've got to sell them... but also halfway to appealing to Google.

Well-written content achieves both of those aims, while also giving your peers something to link into, if your page contains plenty of interesting information. Those links, too, will help you to keep that first-place rank, whatever happens to Google's algorithms in the future.

You can read the Google Webmaster Central blog post here.