SEO companies bamboozled by Panda

Posted on July 11, 2011


A recent update by Google, known as the ‘Panda Update’, has caused a lot of discussion and debate on SEO forums and blogs about what it all means, and how it will affect rankings. However, the fact of the matter is that Google makes updates to its ranking algorithm many times each day (more times than we have coffee in fact, and that’s a lot) so focussing on one specific update may seem a fool’s errand.

Yes, the Panda Update caused a lot of websites to increase in rankings, and a lot of websites to dip in rankings – but those websites that were doing SEO the right way will have benefited from the update, not suffered as a result of it.

Allow me to explain

Only this last week I heard someone say that their SEO company had told them that SEO was 90% links. This made my heart sink. While yes, links are important they are by no means the be all and end all of search engine optimisation. They are certainly not 90% of an SEO strategy, not even close – and Google’s recent update has enforced this fact. In Google’s recent update, many websites that have been used by most SEO companies for link building, such as article submission sites like Ezine Articles, have seen their rankings taking a considerable dent. Consequently, their traffic has also waned and their value as a link for a client’s rankings has dipped.

Some SEO companies have now completely stopped using such websites as link building tools for their clients. There’s nothing inherently wrong with using sites such as these for SEO, but there are other ways that, perhaps, represent a better use of one’s time – but then the same could be said for the whole link building game.

Link Attraction over Link Building

While the standard link building methods of using directory submission websites, article submission sites, PR submissions and other such processes may have lost a little of their sparkle over the last few months, they were never in the same league as the method known as ‘attracting links’ in the first place. By utilising content (listen up those who believe that links are 90% of SEO, this is gold) a website can build the sort of links that it could never, ever amass by standard link building, renting, bartering or buying techniques. Websites such as the BBC, The Guardian, the Telegraph and other pillars of newsworthiness wouldn’t enter into ‘link exchanges’ or ‘rented links’ like common chumps – but they would link to websites that were relevant to stories they were featuring, if the website in question were a relevant, authoritative resource on the subject. This standing in the Internet community can only come about, naturally, through content – not through link building.

Breaking it down

Putting it in simple terms, because there will be some people who need this, SEO tells Google what your website is about, links tell Google your website is popular but it’s content, and content alone, that gives Google a reason to rank your website in the first place.

While some SEO companies have been running around like headless pandas over the last few months, re-evaluating their SEO strategies and fending off client complaints about dips in rankings, those SEO companies who based their SEO strategy around the provision of content will have reaped the rewards of yet another Google Update that has gone their way.

It’s not rocket science really. If you give Google what it wants to find, Google will rank your website accordingly.

Technical Director at Engage Web
Darren is Technical Director at Engage Web, as well as being a co-founder of the company. He takes a hands-on approach to SEO and web design, helped by more than 20 years’ experience in these fields.
  • Great article Darren. Its so true what you say about the need to have quality and relevant content which is updated frequently.

    Far too many SEO companies focus solely on poor quality mass directory submissions without realising the real work required for high quality SEO.

    The Panda update has been a blessing for SEO companies who never took the easy route out!!

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