We're continuing on our journey to explain the effects of Google's Panda Update and how it changes the way websites are examined and ranked.
Until Google unleashed their Panda on the web all website ranking was based on a mathematical model that measured clear quantitative items like:
* How many inbound links does a site have?
* How many words are on each page of the site?
* How many times are important keyword phrases used on the page?
* Are your page titles written well?
As a SEO company, we will admit that it is easy to win in a mathematical numbers game if you know how to correctly count the numbers. Websites who have enough money to play the SEO numbers game rank well in Google all the time even though their websites might suck.
One of the most important numbers to play recently is counting the number of inbound links you have. "Link building" is a common service you can pay most SEO firms to do for your website. The more inbound links you have, the better chance your website will rank.
Back in the Google offices, they have people who work as quality raters that manually evaluate websites. Somehow they look at websites and make judgment calls whether or not a website is bad. When they find something bad, they slap it with demerits which lower its ranking in the SERP.
Looking again at Google's blog ( http://bit.ly/lPUebd
), we see these two interesting points:
* Are the pages produced with great care and attention to detail vs. less attention to detail?
* Would users complain when they see pages from this site?
Along with our own experience analyzing jewelry websites, we've also heatmapped many jewelry sites using AttentionWizard.com and can tell you there are many poor-looking jewelry websites out there. Some are so bad that we have to assume the jewelry store owner simply insisted on inflicting their bad taste in design upon a web designer that regretted taking the job. These are the same stores we also would never even consider buying a custom ring from because their custom photo are so bad!
Anyway, the point is that Google's Panda Update tries to mimic the ability of the quality raters and looks at website designs for their aesthetics and usability.
On March 3, 2011 Wired Magazine interviewed Amit Singhal and Matt Cutts, two top Google engineers ( http://bit.ly/iDcmuv
), and from that interview some other interesting Panda features were explained.
* Would you trust this site with your credit card?
* Do you think the design is good?
These both go back to appearances and aesthetics. If your website looks sucky then you're probably wasting your time on the web.
There are many tools available to help your jewelry website company analyze and develop the best design for your site according to today's standards. Many of these tools include user surveys and testing, or less expensive, automated tools like AttentionWizard.com and Google Analytics. You have to be willing to spend the extra effort to do it right.
Unfortunately, once you get your website running perfectly, you will need to start the design process over again simply to keep up with what your customers are expecting. Google is listening to customer requests, too, and Panda is helping to answer those calls.
It's time to forget about "the Joneses" because you need to "keep ahead of the Panda attack."