Adapting to Google Panda

After Google rolled out their new search algorithm update, commonly referred to as Panda, the need for original content has never been greater for small businesses looking to see their websites rank highly on Google based searches.

Gone are the days where simply copying and pasting articles, packed with SEO friendly keywords, would attain a high page rank. Sites such as AssociatedContent have since lost much of their luster, with websites featuring original content replacing them. The idea behind this update is to level the playing field for small businesses, who previously found it impossible to compete with larger online companies and their armies of freelance writers endlessly recycling the same articles over and over again.

If you are a small business, now is the perfect time to refocus your online strategy and ensure your company is more visible when customers are searching for services related to your business.
Here are some tips and suggestions that we recommend:

1) Create an hCard – Use this to generate a local identity for your business and attract site visitors who live within a reasonably close geographical proximity to your company. Most small businesses, such as tailors, would primarily be focussing on clientele based in and around the same city as their shop or outlet.

2) Another tip to increase brand awareness and develop your business online is to register with Google Places and Yahoo Local. It is easier to obtain top spots in these lists and it can generate quite a bit of traffic for your website. In addition to this, make sure your companies address is visible on your website and that it is also listed on the domain’s WHOIS record.

3) Geo-targeted meta tags. With the introduction of the Panda algorithm, Google prefers businesses in local markets as opposed to global markets. This can be taken advantage of by listing the longitude and latitude of your business location in the meta tags, which promotes the visibility of your website for local searches.

4) Website Clean Up – If your website has been guilty of recycling articles in the past, then that content will be now be doing more harm than good in terms of promoting your business. Remove the offending articles as quickly as possible and replace it with some original content specific to the services your company provides.

5) RDFa – By using correct RDFa tags for your website, search engines such as Google will be able to identify that the content posted on your site is your own work. This is an invaluable advantage after the Panda update, as it strives to exclude websites that it suspects of violating copyright and content.
With a small dedicated SEO team, any small business can achieve the Google ranking they desire and reap the benefits of added custom.

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