Google has been pretty vocal about their algorithm updates over the years however going forward that is no longer going to be the case. In mid-March Google released their 25th Panda update and with it announced that future updates would be happening under the radar. According to Google’s Matt Cutt’s:
Panda updates are going to be more integrated and less noticeable in the future. (Matt Cutts, Source: SearchEngineLand.com)
For those who don’t know much about Panda’s outside of the fact that they are large fuzzy animals that eat bamboo, I’ll give you a brief introduction. Panda is the name of a set of algorithm updates made by Google. Google made over 500 changes to their algorithm in 2012 and we can only expect to see a similar number of updates in 2013. The first Panda update was a whopper impacting over 11% of Google search results.
What Panda did is something that’s honestly been a long time coming – putting the focus back on quality. Remember when you used to search Google and find the first page littered with made-for-Adsense sites with terrible content. Yeah, so nobody liked those sites and while you yourself may have built them in the past, I can tell you that you’re probably not making much money with them any more.
The Panda update was all about improving quality and since the first update 24 more have followed. Google’s general mantra here is build for the user, not for the search engines and I for one am a big fan both as someone that uses Google every single day to find information and as someone that has a number of active websites. As a developer it has been particularly frustrating to see my sites with high-quality content outranked by junky sites containing content clearly written by people probably being paid about $5/article and with no commitment to quality.
So if you’re using a “mass development service” or just getting a cheap website built (i.e. under $500) then make sure you take a very good look at the content. Ask yourself, “If I came to this site would I feel that the content was well written and informative?” If not, then there’s a good chance Google agrees with you and while you might rank well for a month, maybe even a few months, it’s only a matter of time.
There really is no such thing as a great $5 article. Quality content means paying real writers real money, or using your own time to write good content. Be very cautious of anyone offering to build you a great website with quality content for under $500, ask for examples and take a long hard look at the content.