For SEO purposes, content is more important than ever. Google’s recent update to its Panda algorithm was developed with the overall aim of increasing the SEO value of unique, high quality content. The goal of the update is to better filter Google searches in order to prevent the large numbers of sites featuring low quality content from appearing high up in search results.
By preventing sites featuring irrelevant or redundant content from appearing in their index, those with more useful and in-depth content should profit from promotion in search rankings. With the current Panda update, small to medium websites with higher quality content were expected to benefit, at the expense of those peddling “thin” or aggregated content.
With the release of the Panda 4.1 update, Google claim to have discovered new signals they hope will be able to more accurately identify lower quality content, affecting around 3-5% of search queries. The main focus of the latest update was on improving the number of lesser-known sites producing high quality content that appear more prominently in search results. Sites with tendencies to feature unoriginal, “thin” content suffered most from the latest update. Even if they’re presenting the content in an elegant fashion, their lack of original material means Google doesn’t want them to feature highly. There are a number of signals that are identified and can typically be split into one of two categories: quantitative or qualitative.
Quantitative signals are determined by the content and structure of a site, whereas qualitative signals are those that are determined by the activity of site visitors. Google is looking to boost pages with unique, high quality content by combining their wealth of quantitative data signals with the user activity signals, so sites can be ranked against a group of other results. Too many bad signals and a site can suffer severe drops in its ranking, so clearly it’s crucial to take steps to prevent this.
The natural SEO value of content is nothing. So above all, the most important lesson from this update is to avoid featuring large amounts of thin content on your site. Either add value to make it more relevant to users (by editing or merging with other pages) or just delete them outright. The better ranked content tends to not only be more in-depth and longer, but also more precise and coherent. Hence, if possible, produce content that’s authored by someone with good expertise in the subject. You also need to be sure that your site is indexed well so that Google can pick up the parts of content that are related to the terms that you are trying to optimize.
Struggling for content? There are several creative ways to repurpose content for the benefits of SEO. For example, look through any popular blog posts and create spin off articles. Any list posts could then have each point expanded into a longer post; statistics and CTAs (call to actions) can be turned into presentations; and any pieces that contain a lot of data can be turned into an infographic.
Some simpler ways to repurpose include updating old blog posts and then republishing; re-posting any social media updates with the aim of targeting different time zones and putting together an email series from relevant previously published content.