Google Panda, a series of on-going algorithm updates and data refreshes for the search engine, was born in 2011. And in the last four years there have been numerous updates in an attempt to improve search results and reward sites with good quality content.
As of September last year, we’re now on Panda 4.1 and this latest update aimed to allow more small and medium-sized sites to rank better if their content is of value and good quality. Good news for those of us that fall into that category and have been developing our content marketing strategy for years. But now it’s been a few months of getting used to – what have we learnt? And how does it affect searches for websites in other languages?
Farming is over
Content farms used to rank well on Google because of the quantity of their content rather than the quality. And those who crammed their content with keywords also saw a lot of success. Link farms were much the same – relying on links from other quality sites to boost their SEO, rather than focusing on their own content. Not any more. Panda has done a good job of weeding out these less useful sites, leaving some website managers with headaches over how to regain the popularity.
How to beat the Panda – don’t use a pogo stick!
Panda doesn’t like sites that provide a bad user experience (resulting in visitors “bouncing” straight back off the site), whose content is too thin or duplicated, or too stuffed with keywords. More importantly – if the website isn’t in the searcher’s language, don’t expect it to feature very high up the search results. This is where we, in our capacity as a provider of professional translation services, start to get particularly interested…
Why can’t Google just automatically translate my site?
For the reasons mentioned above – Google wants to ensure the highest quality and most relevant and useful content reaches the top of the search results, and Panda is a stickler for quality.
If you can’t even translate your own site, what are the chances that you’ve really thought about the usefulness of its content for your audience? Your content may be fantastic and relevant to a global audience, but will always lose out to good sites in the correct language.
OK, I’ve translated my site via a cheap machine translation service, what about now?
There’s your first clue: cheap. We know as well as anyone the advancements in the quality of machine translations these days, but the results are still never going to be as good as when you have a professional translator do it for you. The result? The Panda will strike again and filter out results that aren’t clear and relevant. It will learn from users who bounce off your site (due to not trusting its poorly translated content) that it is not of a very high quality, and so push it further down the rankings.
So what do you suggest?
Far be it from us to blow our own trumpets, but if you’re serious about getting your site found by international audiences, you could do a lot worse than getting in touch with a reputable translation services provider to discuss your options. Even if you just want your home page professionally translated and whipped into shape by our content experts in various countries, there’s a way to succeed.
Basic techniques such as keeping your content fresh and relevant, contributing to popular topics, and thoroughly researching your subject to make it accurate and useful are also a good place to start. And remember to keep your content engaging – the longer your visitors stay on your site, the more the Panda will love you.
So there you have it, in black and white. Just like a Panda. Time to make friends?
*Picture credits: Brooklin / Shutterstock.com