How To Feed The Panda – 3 Basics That Protect Your Page 1 Ranking

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James Martell
You’ll receive money making advice and actionable tips and strategies directly from James Martell when you subscribe to his weekly podcast by email, RSS feed or iTunes. You can also follow James on Twitter. Recognized as a leading expert in affiliate marketing training, James is the host of the "Affiliate Marketers SUPER BootCamp", and host of the "Affiliate Buzz", the first ever and longest running podcast for affiliate marketers in the industry. A sought-after speaker, James has presented at Commission Junction University, Affiliate Summit, The System Seminar, Digital River Lab, Pubcon, Affcon, and more. Google+ James Martell
James Martell
James Martell
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What Panda like to eat

Isn’t it amazing how important Google has become in our business? If you’ve just started out or even if you’ve been in affiliate marketing for a few years you probably just accept that Google was always the 500 pound gorilla but that wasn’t always the case. In the beginning there were a number of search engines like Excite, AOL and AltaVista who were all considered the best of their time.

But today it’s all Google and we spend a ton of time trying to keep our noses clean lest we lose ranking and traffic. Google’s Panda algorithm has undergone a series of adjustments and in my mind, is forcing marketers to be the best that they can be. Gone are the days of “tricking” the search engine. Now it’s all about quality, relevancy and writing for the visitor not the search engine.

What the Panda likes to eat

My wife Arlene and I are responsible for coming up with ideas for new content for both our own websites and those of some of our students. When we brainstorm ideas we always keep in mind what Google’s purpose in life is. If we create stories that jive with the mission statement of Google we have an excellent chance of making the first page of results.

So what does the Panda like to eat? It likes content that is:

  • Useful to the visitor. Content that is relevant to the search and answers a question.
  • Helpful for the visitor. Not only does the content answer the basic question of the search but it expands on it and offers greater value to the reader.
  • Fresh. Google has an insatiable appetite for new, unique content.

Your website could be about inexpensive web hosting or home office furniture. Google isn’t picky about topics but it is when it comes to your content meeting the three criteria listed above. Keep your content useful, helpful and fresh and you will have come a long way in making your site bulletproof to any new adjustments in the algorithm.

Change your perspective

I guess it’s because we make our money on the internet and the free traffic we get from search engines is so important to us that many marketers spend more time building content for spiders to read than humans. If that’s the way you’re creating content today I would suggest that you take a different perspective as your priorities are mixed up.

Google wants what’s best for readers not spiders. If the term keyword density is still in your vocabulary you have to toss it out. I’ll explain in a moment what I mean by

that but right now you have to start thinking about how you are going to distinguish yourself from the competition. You have to start viewing your content from a visitor’s point of view because that’s exactly how Panda is going to judge it.

3 Tips to help your content stand out

Unless you are in some really obscure niche there are literally millions of competing pages vying for ranking in your business. The good news is that much of it is junk or old or both. The bad news is there are still enough competitors to make getting on page 1 and staying there a challenge. Here are three rock solid strategies for distinguishing yourself from the competition.

Tip # 1 – Go Beyond What The Merchant Offers

Let’s say you are an affiliate marketer have a home improvement website. If your content is a rehash of features, endorsements and benefits that already exist on the merchant’s site then you really aren’t adding anything of value. Your wording may not be exactly the same but the usefulness and helpfulness of the content is the same as the merchant who undoubtedly is considered a greater authority than your site.

You’ve got to go beyond what is already offered.

Stop thinking of your content as an article but rather as a story. Add your own experiences with the product or service or experiences of people you know. Have an opinion and express it. What you’re doing is providing a real third party endorsement and people value that.

Tip # 2 – If You Outsource, Outsource Better Quality

For me and for many others writing just takes too much time. I’ll put in whatever it takes to put together an outline of what I want and provide a freelancer with links to reference material but when it comes down to actually writing I know there are others that are better than I am. So I outsource.

I used to outsource 3 articles per week per website and what I got back was okay but not great. I decided that it made more sense to take that budget for 3 articles and get 1 story written by a higher quality writer and that decision has paid off. Fresh content is important but my advice to you is that a single well-constructed story is better than 3 so-so articles. Consider using your budget to buy better quality.

Tip # 3 – Add Credibility and Authority

No matter what your niche is there have to be organizations or individuals that are well known in it. If you can work in quotations from those sources, complete with attribution, you lend credibility to your page. Also, and this comes from a professional commercial writer, list your sources that you used to research the story on the bottom of the page.

I hope this helped in defining what Panda ids looking for and what you can do to get or protect a page 1 ranking. If you have any other ideas or comments please share them in the resource box below.