Has Google’s Panda Update Changed SEO Forever?

A Panda sounds like a nice soft fuzzy animal right? You’ve never heard of rampant Panda attacks have you? Well Google’s Panda was anything but nice as it impacted over 10% of the sites it indexes. Companies like eZineArticles got hit hard while others like eHow sailed onto search engine domination. Now that we’re living life after Panda there is one big question on just about everyone’s mind – has Google’s Panda updated changed SEO forever?

I’m happy to go on record here and say “Yes!” it has absolutely changed SEO forever…but not quite as dramatically as many people think. You see Google has been working hard long before Panda and reducing the number of junky sites ranking well. The vision of a search engine is to return the most relevant results, not the results that have been tweaked and optimized to seem the most relevant…do you see the difference?

While Panda definitely impacted a lot of people all at once, Google’s non-stop tuning of their algorithm had already made it clear that the old SEO tricks were starting to die. With the new Google we all are using today the rules of SEO have changed. The days of article directories and forum profile links are going to be long forgotten in this new era of SEO.

So how has SEO changed? There is one big undeniable change that’s been going on in the search space for the last few years that became accentuated with the Panda release – Social Media. You want to know the new rules of the SEO game? First start by throwing the old rules out, Google has studied them, knows the tricks, and those gaming the system have a limited time left as king of the hill. Next look at Twitter and Facebook and the incredible amount of traffic on them every minute of every day. It’s a lot of traffic, Google knows this, and they know that the way people use the Internet is changing – Social Media is in, bigtime.

Now I don’t want to sound like a raving lunatic so let me explain this a bit more. Any real online brand is using Social Media now, those with high-levels of user engagement are using Social Media the most. Social Media is quickly becoming a major place that people get information and advice. The more buzz there is about something on Social Media platforms like Twitter and Facebook the more relevant it usually is – if Charlie Sheen goes crazy tomorrow and starts speaking only in German Twitter will pick it up quickly and soon it will be a top trend. Top brands or resources within a niche have strong Social Media profiles and plenty of love from the Social Media community.

Google’s Panda update didn’t start this shift, Twitter and Facebook did, but Google just sealed the deal. SEO has changed forever, sure some of the old techniques still work but not across all niches and not forever. If you are in it for the long-haul there has never been a better time to build real living breathing brands. Will it take more work than mini-sites or parking? Yes!

How does this all relate to Domaining? Well Domainers should look at each of their domains as a brand, a real online business. Don’t expect to find a solution for all your names, but if you aren’t building brands you aren’t going in the direction the traffic is moving. This business evolves everyday which mean we all need to evolve with it.

Many of the SEO tips you’ve read over the years will be changing, not all today, and not all at once, but it’s started and the end is not in sight yet. Just think, if most of the major article directories just got slammed do you really think their backlinks will be as valuable as they were before? When major companies like Forbes and JC Penny get slapped by Google you know that nobody is safe and Google is serious about putting an end to gaming the system.

Frankly I like the idea of living in a world where you have to build a real business to get real traffic. Heck – this is how it works in the real world, you get out what you put in. The free rides are over, the games we’ve all played for the last 16+ years are no more. It’s a new game and Social Media is at it’s core – if you’ve been ignoring it until now, this is the tipping point.

{ 10 comments… add one }

  • steve March 29, 2011, 7:28 pm

    Like we didn’t know this…
    You are correct but it has been posted many times.

    • Morgan March 30, 2011, 8:02 am

      @steve You may know it but I’ve been getting a TON of emails with people asking me this exact question so there are a LOT of people who don’t know!

  • Uzoma March 29, 2011, 8:22 pm

    What Google is doing is NOT just hitting people’s traffic where it only takes 10% away; they are practically stealing the internet in front of everybody. They want the whole hog. Anyone toying around with SEO still doesn’t get it. This should be WAR! not bullshit SEO. We should be going to CONGRESS!!

  • John McConnell March 30, 2011, 5:18 am

    Another blogger, another SEO buzzword, another heap of supposed earth shattering nonsense. Morgan, stick to topics that you actually know something about, please.

    Social Media links, mentions, and profiles will help you stay indexed and stay fresh, that is it. “Eureka!… my cache is fresh!” If you don’t believe me then promote a website for a year strictly through Social Media, then publish the results.

    You SEO buzzword bloggers are all the same. “Reciprocal link exchanges haven’t worked for years!” “Domain based keywords have been degraded!” “The free rides are over”. Keep thinking that, keep hanging on every little whisper out of Matt Cutts. The less competition the better.

    Do you want to succeed in search? Well it’s not brain surgery people. Quality content, quality links, a quality domain name. It’s always worked, it works today just like it always has, and I guarantee that in ten years from now it will still being working. If you want to chase SEO buzzwords and blogger fluff then do so at your own peril.

    Sheesh! Another year another layer of SEO misinformation. Well played Mr. Cutts, well played indeed…

    • Morgan March 30, 2011, 8:02 am

      @John I’ve been doing SEO since 1995 so this is a topic I know MUCH better than Domaining which I’ve only been doing for 3 years!

      That being said I always appreciate comments, positive or negative so thanks for sharing your opinion – it is always welcomed on my blog! 🙂

  • TeenDomainer March 30, 2011, 5:41 am

    I really have not seen a huge change in my sites. If anything traffic is up. I think what google did help smaller publishers with quality content and my minisites are doing great. I do agree that social media is now a nice part of the equation.

    • Morgan March 30, 2011, 8:00 am

      @TeenDomainer – I have seen a really nice change from the update with an average increase of about 3 spots! For people like you and I that are building real brands with unique content this update was a major win!

  • Jeff Schneider March 30, 2011, 10:14 am

    We are very lucky to have a Highly Brandable name for our web site, so we have only seen changes in Back Links which are being decimated as we speak. This whole strategy that Google has rolled out ,is nothing more than a not so veiled attack on Direct Navigation.

    The last thing Google wants is Key Word Indexing, and they are working very hard to bury Direct Nav. We have a Business Model coming out soon that will Build Direct Navigation as a Brand. There has never been a better time for Google to have more competitors added to the vsearch space, and we will level the playing field back to 2000 , levels . Be sure to check us out once we launch.

    Gratefully, Jeff Schneider (Contact Group) (Metal Tiger)

  • Ed March 30, 2011, 4:43 pm

    Yes, the Panda update & future updates has & will change the web landscape so that SEO will be needed forever

  • Richard Cummings October 6, 2011, 7:09 am

    You are right. People definitely need to re-think the way they do SEO today. What the new Panda update has done is made it tougher for the little guy to triumph. However, those who stick to it may have far less competition than in the past!