Some Thoughts on the Farmer Update
I don’t think that the internet can take another post on Panda so I’ve decided to write about the Farmer update… Lets start off with a quote!
“My opinion is that Panda is the start of something relatively new for Google. They are using the aggregated opinions of their quality raters, in combination with machine learning algorithms, to filter and reorder the results for a better user experience.” Rand Fishkin – SEOmoz
What has happened in this Farmer Update?
- Google quality raters have been reviewing a certain selection of test sites.
- Metrics have been taken from this review to work out what makes a “good” or “bad” site. These are based around trustworthiness, layout, ease of use and quality of content.
- These metrics are then combined with machine based algorithms that are based around CTR, brand searches (popularity), bounce rate, time on site etc.
- Websites have been “reranked” accordingly in Panda update 1.0 – February 23rd 2011.
- There have been at least 3 Panda tweaks since then the last major one being June 16th.
- This doesn’t mean that websites suddenly don’t rely on relevancy and popularity it just means there are other things to also be concerned with. Rand Fishkin was also saying how the job of SEO is turning into Web Strategist and I think there is some truth in that.
What should we be looking to do now?
- Remove any extraneous, overhead, duplicate, low value and unnecessary URLs from the index. Too many poor pages will have a negative effect on the stronger ones.
- Make important pages as unique as possible.
- Focus on generating high quality links (content-driven links, through guest blogs, networking, and social media efforts).
- Re-optimize the site’s important pages by improving its content, internal links directing to it from other authority pages of the site, and by building links from authority websites.
- Only present pages that are genuinely offering value to users.
- Encourage social media presence, sharing buttons etc.
- Create high quality support pages for each targeted keyword (could be a blog post or an individual page that links to each important page). These support pages will be targeting the same keyword as the clients primary term.
- Integrate the blog of the site (especially for large ecommerce sites), and utilize its full potential by taking advantage of strategic internal linking structure through blog posts.
- Improve site speed, remove unnecessary code, images. Review via Google Webmaster Tools.
- Track crawl errors of the site via Google Webmaster Tool and fix 404 errors by employing 301 redirects.