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Don't Fear The Panda

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SEO, Panda 4.0 and algorithms: For some individuals, these terms inspire panic and uncomfortable sweating, but for people with in-depth knowledge of the search engine optimization realm, these terms are not frightening at all. In fact, many are breathing a sigh of relief following the newest update from Google, which will only benefit businesses producing high-quality website content. 

Panda packs a punch for spammers

The realm of search engine optimization is constantly changing, especially as Google continues to release updates to its algorithms. Panda 4.0 is merely the latest in an extensive string of updates from the site, aimed at curating quality search results for users looking for reliable, relevant information. This algorithm is geared toward eliminating spam from the search results page and providing Googlers with results that are most relevant to their needs.

By sending virtual crawlers across the expansive span of cyber space, Panda 4.0 works to keep spam results from appearing in your Google search. Malicious sites that post content rich with black hat SEO content will be affected most - meaning that those who overload their virus-ridden sites with content to boost their rankings will be caught, eliminated and penalized by Panda. 

Will my business be affected?

Absolutely.

Panda 4.0 rewards sites producing quality, information-rich information. Small business owners who maintain well-run websites, social media pages and online campaigns will see greater visibility among potential consumers and search result pages, especially since keyword-stuffing and unoriginal content will be penalized with the rollout.

Businesses should remain cautious, however, and continue to monitor their online rankings and website numbers. The update is only expected to affect 7.5 percent of English searches, but large companies, including eBay and Ask.com, experienced a significant drop in their online influence days after Panda 4.0 was unveiled. Affected sites, however, produced generic or repeated information that was tagged by the algorithm. Small business owners who keep their sites updated with original content should not see similar results.

Staying on top of SEO content

Remaining knowledgeable about the world of SEO is vital, especially for small business owners looking to increase their online presence and influence. In the past, Google rewarded websites that posted short stories - 200 words or less - riddled with keywords pertaining to certain industries. However, as the digital landscape has shifted, the site has started bolstering those with quality content, regardless of word count. One of the best ways for small business owners to stay on top of SEO and Google updates is by remaining genuine to their offerings and producing content specifically for their target market. Repeating information currently on the web, or merely reposting articles from another source, is the best way to immediately lose credibility.

Another important factor for pleasing the Panda is by optimizing your site for mobile - and staying on top of the most recent trends concerning website development. Small business owners do not have to change the layout of their sites every month, but they should remain aware of popular trends and how to best incorporate them in their operations. For example, many websites feature a Twitter ticker, which shows live updates from the company's social media account. At first, this widget was widely ignored, but as more brands adopted Twitter, they began incorporating it into their webpages.

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