We've spent the last several Daily Gold Nuggets talking about the changes Google implemented with its Panda Update, and gave you suggestions on how to avoid having yourself negatively affected.
Over the next few months, we will report on new information about the Panda Update process as we learn it. But before we conclude this current set of Panda-specific Nuggets we have one more topic to talk about today.
After careful consideration, we believe we see a correlation between a Panda recommendation and something that we've previously told you about, so let's review.
According to the Panda process, Google will lower the overall ranking of your website if you have any low quality pages. If you review this page ( http://bit.ly/lPUebd ) you will see their explanation "that low-quality content on some parts of a website can impact the whole site's rankings, and thus removing low quality pages, merging or improving the content of individual shallow pages into more useful pages, or moving low quality pages to a different domain could eventually help the rankings of your higher-quality content."
What exactly does this mean for the retail jewelry store?
We strongly feel that this does not include your Directions page or your Contact Us page since those are important for all businesses.
In previous Daily Nuggets, we've had discussions about the typical "Services We Provide" page that is so common on retail jeweler websites. This page is usually an itemized list of all the jeweler's services with only one sentence describing the service. Our recommendation has always been to split up this single page into individual pages that embellish each service.
When we say "embellish each service," we literally mean 400 words with a photo. You SHOULD NOT take each service and create separate pages unless you are going to put in the 400 word effort. We're stressing that because we have also seen jewelry stores doing it. Not only does it go against our previously recommended strategy, but now the Panda guidelines specifically say that your entire website could lose ranking because of it.
We've read through a lot of blog comments and other expert SEO opinion columns regarding the Panda Update. So far we haven't found anyone correlating low quality pages to individual product catalog pages which are notorious for thin content.
Typically individual product detail pages don't rank well in Google, and with the Panda on the loose they might be completely doomed.
On the other hand, since the Panda Update we've been noticing many product catalog landing pages showing up when searching for "engagement rings." Page 1 of the "engagement rings" SERP is still a Universal SERP, but from Page 2 onward there are several product catalog landing pages.
So what do you do with those low quality pages?
Our recommendations are to convert them to single pages, but if the page content does not have 400 words or more, you should use the meta robots="noindex,follow" attribute within that page. Your webmaster should know how to implement the robots noindex feature.
We strongly suggest you beef up the amount of information on your product detail pages. We DO NOT recommend that you use robots=noindex on those pages, but at the same time we STRONGLY recommend using Google Analytics to pay close attention to the number of Google visitors coming to your site. You might be a victim of the Panda Update if that number has dropped since February 2011 or if it has plateaued since then.
The Google Panda Update has changed the way we all manage SEO. If you can't navigate your way through those changes, you should hire a professional.