A Panda sounds like a nice soft fuzzy animal right? You’ve never heard of rampant Panda attacks have you? Well Google’s Panda was anything but nice as it impacted over 10% of the sites it indexes. Companies like eZineArticles got hit hard while others like eHow sailed onto search engine domination. Now that we’re living life after Panda there is one big question on just about everyone’s mind – has Google’s Panda updated changed SEO forever?
I’m happy to go on record here and say “Yes!” it has absolutely changed SEO forever…but not quite as dramatically as many people think. You see Google has been working hard long before Panda and reducing the number of junky sites ranking well. The vision of a search engine is to return the most relevant results, not the results that have been tweaked and optimized to seem the most relevant…do you see the difference?
While Panda definitely impacted a lot of people all at once, Google’s non-stop tuning of their algorithm had already made it clear that the old SEO tricks were starting to die. With the new Google we all are using today the rules of SEO have changed. The days of article directories and forum profile links are going to be long forgotten in this new era of SEO.
So how has SEO changed? There is one big undeniable change that’s been going on in the search space for the last few years that became accentuated with the Panda release – Social Media. You want to know the new rules of the SEO game? First start by throwing the old rules out, Google has studied them, knows the tricks, and those gaming the system have a limited time left as king of the hill. Next look at Twitter and Facebook and the incredible amount of traffic on them every minute of every day. It’s a lot of traffic, Google knows this, and they know that the way people use the Internet is changing – Social Media is in, bigtime.
Now I don’t want to sound like a raving lunatic so let me explain this a bit more. Any real online brand is using Social Media now, those with high-levels of user engagement are using Social Media the most. Social Media is quickly becoming a major place that people get information and advice. The more buzz there is about something on Social Media platforms like Twitter and Facebook the more relevant it usually is – if Charlie Sheen goes crazy tomorrow and starts speaking only in German Twitter will pick it up quickly and soon it will be a top trend. Top brands or resources within a niche have strong Social Media profiles and plenty of love from the Social Media community.
Google’s Panda update didn’t start this shift, Twitter and Facebook did, but Google just sealed the deal. SEO has changed forever, sure some of the old techniques still work but not across all niches and not forever. If you are in it for the long-haul there has never been a better time to build real living breathing brands. Will it take more work than mini-sites or parking? Yes!
How does this all relate to Domaining? Well Domainers should look at each of their domains as a brand, a real online business. Don’t expect to find a solution for all your names, but if you aren’t building brands you aren’t going in the direction the traffic is moving. This business evolves everyday which mean we all need to evolve with it.
Many of the SEO tips you’ve read over the years will be changing, not all today, and not all at once, but it’s started and the end is not in sight yet. Just think, if most of the major article directories just got slammed do you really think their backlinks will be as valuable as they were before? When major companies like Forbes and JC Penny get slapped by Google you know that nobody is safe and Google is serious about putting an end to gaming the system.
Frankly I like the idea of living in a world where you have to build a real business to get real traffic. Heck – this is how it works in the real world, you get out what you put in. The free rides are over, the games we’ve all played for the last 16+ years are no more. It’s a new game and Social Media is at it’s core – if you’ve been ignoring it until now, this is the tipping point.