Google Panda landed in the UK on the 9/4/2011 and immediately and dramatically changed the way SEO agencies do link building.

Google's Panda update was a major algorithm change that affected almost 12 percent of all search results, and the web is still buzzing about the implications which include dramatic losses for some companies (Mahalo, Suite 101), and gains by some established sites known for high-quality information.

In the pre-Panda days one of the primary ways we performed link building was by producing a number of articles to place on strong article sites and on good-looking resources like squidoo.

But now with the Panda update, Orchid Box has immediately stopped any article marketing activity and instead refocussed our efforts on unique and strong content within the site (obviously this was always the case, but even more prevalent now) and guest blogging is becoming a good alternative to supplement the shortfall in inbound link equity.

Here are our SEO strategies both pre and post-Panda:

PRE -PANDA

Article marketing constituited 30% of our Online Marketing strategy.
 

 

POST -PANDA

Article marketing is now dead, online PR has been hit slightly, and the key is now creating more and more viral / social content. Guest blogging is now increasingly important for our actions.

 

The web at moment is abuzz with theories and conclusions that have been drawn since the update - here are just a few good ones we've selected: 


1. Ensure your content is unique and useful – there’s nothing terribly new here (good content has always been best practice) but it does seem that Google has tightened the ship slightly on duplicate content and thin-content pages

2. Ensure there is a good amount of value added to users above the fold on your page – value here is a difficult concept to nail down algorithmically but for your site it should be fairly easy to figure out. Perhaps consider using a service like feedback army to test your site with random people. Ask them some of the questions that Google ask – would you put credit card details into this site? Do you trust this site? If the answers don’t give a positive response – keep going with adding value (or making the value added clearer!).

3. Get rid of aggressive ads and images that look like ad blocks. Whether it’s adsense, kontera, banner ads or just large images that look like ads – make sure they don’t take precedence over your content.

4. Re-design your site to make it look like a web 2.0 site. Did I really just say that? Yes, I did. Because Google’s algorithms are now based on what people want to see, not where the actual value is – so you need to fit in. If your site is the ugly one the you’re far more likely to get hit than if your site is good looking.

5. Make your site look more trusted. This has always been a good thing – it helps conversion rates – but you should ensure you have a good about page, privacy policy, contact page etc to ensure people feel comfortable using your site.

Orchid Box has launched a new link building offer for agencies to replace article marketing links.