If your site was among those that were impacted with Google’s latest Farmer algorithm change, you’re probably left wondering “Why Me?” and then of course “How Can I Recover?”. Today I’m going to give some tips on how to move forward.
To start, I think it is important to understand the ultimate goal from Google’s perspective and consider the state of your website:
- Overall site quality
- Contains original content across the entire site: Google told Search Engine Land that it important to note that “low quality pages on one part of a site can impact the overall ranking of that site”
- Compelling value: fresh, useful resource, unique to other pages. Content is not overshadowed by ads on the page. We at Exclusive Concepts have always recommended writing at least 250 words per page (the more the better), but it’s the quality of the content that counts, not the sheer volume. In my opinion, I’m not sure how sophisticated Google is to determine quality by their robots just scanning a page, but we can presume that the measure of quality becomes more clear if other websites are linking to the page and users are sharing what they’ve found with their social networks.
- Google is looking for sites that “users love or mention to their friends…” – clearly a testament to the fact that Google is viewing social engagement as an important quality signal
Now that you have an understand of the importance of site quality, you can start assessing pages and start prioritizing where to make modifications.
Look for patterns: if there are certain pages that used to rank well and took a significant hit (more than 20 positions as an example), take a look at the content (or lack there of) and look for possible commonalities. At an ecommerce level, I’d suggest this for category, subcategory pages or if you have articles or instructive papers. In many cases you’ll probably have at least some duplicate content on your product pages.
- By traffic/sales drivers
- Pages that can quickly and easily improved
- Identify areas that may not be scalable to work on, but could be hurting the overall site quality
Pimp out your amazing content – now that you know what pages need some work, think about what additions or modifications would make it better:
- Are you providing helpful selling information (how-to’s, comparisons, as-seen-in)?
- Are you giving users the information they may receive if they walked in to your brick and mortar (if one existed)?
- Be the authority on the subject, theme, category or product
- Be creative with engagement – sell the site as a resource. Make sure your content is compelling enough to inspire people to link to your pages and share this information on their social networks!
Google will likely be making iterations to the algorithm change over the long haul. The good news is, once you’ve made changes to your site and your pages have been re-indexed, you should start seeing rebounds soon after. For more information, you can check out a more in depth, recent article on Search Engine Land regarding the Farmer Update here: http://searchengineland.com/your-sites-traffic-has-plummeted-since-googles-farmerpanda-update-now-what-66769