Google continuously makes changes to its algorithm, as a result different websites keep losing or gaining some ranks in the SERP, however most of the times these changes are not noticed (except of course by the website owners), and the changes go not affecting the overall SEO community in any way. On the other hand, there are some changes, which are huge enough to unsettle all and sundry. Even those who are not directly affected by the update are forced to mull over these changes.
The PANDA update is one such change, making more ripples on the SEO surface than any other update in recent past. The last time we see a similar hoopla was when Google came down hard on the paid directories. And even though paid directories were the only sufferers (wasnít really an update in algorithm), but the “hit” clearly make some changes in the priorities of SEO guys. I can see the same thing happening with the recent PANDA update (AKA Google farm update). Back then, it was web directories that suffered, and now there are article directories (and their modified versions known as content farms). In spite of the fact, that it affected content farms in general, the update has managed to induce some questions in the SEO’s mind, and this fear is likely to change the way people carry out Search Engine Optimization.
Article Marketing via Article Directories
Already, we can see ezinearticles.com making drastic changes to their editing and publishing rules. From increasing the word limit to raising the quality standards. In fact, they were even thinking of changing the do-follow attribute to no-following in author’s bio; much to the dismay of their authors (thankfully they have retreated for the time being). All things considered, article marketing has certainly lost some of its worth. Whilst some low quality directories will continue to do what they were doing, the more serious ones will certainly become stricter about their content quality, even if it means publishing fewer articles.
The websites will be more cautious about the duplicate or spun content, especially in the niches where supply has already exceeded the demand. As far as back links are concerned, there is no clear indication that Google has also devalued the links coming from these websites, but still we can expect some changes in the linking policies of these websites, for example, ezinearticles.com is already encouraging the authors to keep their bio in line with the content of the article.
There’s no reason for the SEO professionals to get demoralized though, in fact, this change should be welcomed by those who are more into quality work. The only type of marketers who will be hurt are those who were relying heavily on article marketing via directories (finding a niche, then writing and doling out 100’s of low quality articles to rank for the keywords targeting that niche). On a side note, this update will also take a toll on freelance writers churning out third rate articles for $4 – $5, those articles were nothing but a substandard amalgamation of information easily available on the internet at 1000 different places. Good riddance, Iíd say.
Panda update hasn’t only scared the article directories or content farm owners, as we can see a little reluctant on part of Bloggers who accept guest posts, especially when it comes to keyword rich anchor text in byline or within the body of articles. Thereís no reason for these blogs to panic though, the Panda update was meant for websites that were churning out useless content and adding to the overall spam with an insane speed, itís true that some quality websites have to put up with the update targeting content farms, but that was probably more of a bad luck. Guest blogging is much more than a tactic to get some back-link and host bloggers are extremely nit-picking when approving a post to go live on their website (unless the Blog is running on some revenue sharing model), even then the editors at these Blogs are seemingly doing a much better job than the editors at article directories (you can’t blame them though, because they have to deal with much bigger numbers of submissions).
Saying that PANDA update hasnít changed anything is wide off the mark; on the other hand, saying it has totally eradicated the methods like article marketing will also be an overstatement. If anything, you need to focus more on quality than quantity when writing either articles or guest posts.
Image Credit : tommyhofer