What Does Panda 4.0 Mean for Casino Affiliates?
Google’s recent Panda 4.0 update was the latest in a string of algorithm updates that should be sending a clear signal to web publishers of all kinds – Google is very serious about quality content; site relevance, and user interaction.
Anyone who doubts the previous statement should take a long, hard look at the sites that saw significant ranking gains, and losses, when Panda 4.0 rolled out.
According to a recent, and very in-depth, case study by Razvan Gavrilas over at CognitiveSEO.com, sites that try to cover too much ground with thin content and low user interaction were hit very hard by Panda 4.0. Sites that offered in-depth, authoritative content and user friendly layouts, reaped big benefits from the update.
How big were the gains and losses?
In Is Google Panda 4.0 the Topical Authority Content Update of 2014?, Gavrilas points out that MyRecipes.com, a site that’s very Panda friendly, saw its SEO visibility rise by 325% post Panda 4.0. eBay, and other sites that cover lots of ground, saw its SEO visibility crash by 48%.
What’s happening to these sites is no secret, it’s simply the next phase of Google’s master plan to increase the quality of search results for end-users.
For casino affiliates, Gavrilas’ insights on content and structure provide a very useful list of tips for staying ahead of the Panda’s wrath.
Content Matters…All the Time
Remember when Panda was simply known as, the Farmer Update? That’s because it’s main focus has been to punish sites that post up thin content that doesn’t provide much in the way for end-users, while propping up sites that play ball.
While quality content remains the core to post-Panda success, it’s not the only factor that the black and white bear is evaluating.
Gavrilas points out that most of the sites that Panda rewarded offered specialized content on a fairly narrow range of topics. These sites also put up plenty of relevant links and went very in-depth on every topic they covered.
Not surprisingly, sites that include scraped and auto-generated content were big losers in this, and every other, Panda update.
The takeaway for casino affiliates is that narrowing your focus and upping your quality is a good post-Panda strategy. Sports betting affiliates, for example, may want to focus their efforts on a single sport, rather than trying to cover too much ground.
Focusing on a narrow range of content both increases your opportunities to create something original and unique, and also gives you a chance to establish authority within that niche.
Another trait shared by by Panda winners was a high degree of user interaction. Google’s made no secret that interaction, especially on social media, is an increasingly important factor and Panda 4.0 drives that point home.
Sites with robust comments and forums, as well as those that make social sharing easy are definitely in a good position to take advantage of the latest changes to the SEO landscape.
In the igaming world, we’ve already seen industry leaders like AskGamblers.com make user interactions a big part of their long range plans and recent site redesign.
Of course interaction is another one of those concepts that’s easy to talk about, but tough to execute. That’s clearly why loyalty reward programs, that pay out incentives for interactions, are becoming more common in the igaming world.
Usability is the final factor Gavrilas examined and, as it turns out, it’s a very big deal when Panda updates roll through.
Sites that make searching and interactivity as simple and clear as possible are another group that’s benefited from Panda 4.0.
While easy-to-manage sites that make use of white space are more common in the affiliate world than they once were, casino affiliates are still fond of packing as much info on their main pages as possible. If you’ve got a site redesign in your future, this is a factor you’ll definitely want to keep in mind.
The final word on Panda, and indeed the entire future of SEO, is based on the end-user experience and quality which, as Gavrilas says, “…means doing it right, even when no one is watching.”