Panda 2.5 – Observations from the Peanut Gallery
Since the majority of SEO’s don’t regularly dine with Google’s executives, our thoughts about the end of September 2011, Panda 2.5, algorithm updates may or may not be accurate at this time. When Google makes an official announcement about the nuts ‘n bolts of their latest Panda 2.5 update, the haze will clear. (If you’d like to invite us to dinner, Google, we’ll promise to order salads with our chocolate cake.)
Panda 2.5 and Video
After Danny Sullivan first shared his post about the biggest winners and losers of the Panda 2.5 update, “it’s about video” came to mind. With YouTube being a big winner, it’s only natural to conclude that video is entirely a web must-have these days. All arguments about Google owning YouTube aside, the fact that the Today Show lost rankings probably indicates that Panda 2.5 is not all about video. The Today Show is a television network with video on their site. We all know that video content is valuable, but is it the deciding Panda 2.5 factor? How could small businesses ever hope to compete with the budget needed for quality videos?
Deliver the Content Promised in the Meta
The Today Show’s current landing page meta titles are “Matt Lauer, Ann Curry, Al Roker, Natalie Morales- Today Show video, news, recipes,
health, pets”. Does its front page content deliver results for all of those meta titles? No. While it offers sub-category links to pages about these titles, this particular landing page’s content is much more about “News, Headline News”, then about each of those other broad meta titles. Remember writing those college thesis statements? Don’t over promise and under-deliver with meta titles, either.
CafeMom.com is also on the list of Panda 2.5 rank losers. Currently, they too are working with a laundry list of descriptors on their home page. As of today, one of the meta titles even includes “more beta”, which indicates they’re scrambling to figure out what hit them. Cafemom.com might want to cut down their list and focus on one phrase that sums up the entire page to deliver what they’re promising on that page. Conversely, they could offer exacting content on the front page about each of the current meta titles. Their direction depends on their goals.
Compare the two Panda 2.5 losers to Panda 2.5 winners like TV.com., Zappos.com, or WashingtonPost.com. Their landing pages deliver what their meta titles promise. For example, the Post promises “National, World, and D.C. Area News”. Sure enough, it delivers landing page content for those keywords with bolded keyword sections and synonyms.
Potential Panda 2.5 Factors
Additional speculation about Panda 2.5 suggests the update favors bigger brands, but The Today Show is a big brand and it took a hit. Are those Google Pluses and other social “likes” making a difference?
One particularly interesting article is Google 2.5 How to Recover? The author suggests that Panda 2.5 embraces actual traffic indicators from Analytics and other sources. Time on site metrics and bounce rates measure your site’s true influence. Good point.
Potpiegirl suggests affiliates are feeling the squeeze. In her well-written post, she concludes that Google can do what Google wants with their site. It’s their site.
On October 5, 2011 in a tweet, Matt Cutts warned sites “to expect some Panda-related flux in the next two weeks, but will have less impact than
previous updates (~2%).”
In the meantime, ask your content writers to double check that your post Panda 2.5 content continues to deliver what your meta titles promise.