Panda problems continue to blight travel sites

Panda problems continue to blight travel sites

Some travel websites are still struggling to recover from Google’s Panda search algorithm update last year that was brought in to weed out content farms and low-quality website content.

Bill Greer, director of content-driven search specialist Vertical Leap, said the change has brought the focus back on to content and user experience rather than tweaking technology to boost rankings.

He believes this has prompted many retailers to re-evaluate their search agency relationships, with small agencies like Vertical Leap benefitting from a specialism in content.

“The whole idea of content marketing is huge in the States. I think in this country it has yet to catch on – it’s just too fragmented,” said Greer.

“There is a dawning realisation of where the web is going with the power of blogging and what Google is up to with Google+ and personalised results.

“In terms of our sector we are very much governed by Google and what they do. Panda had a devastating effect on people last year. Some sites are still struggling to recover.”

One fallout from Panda has been the increase in the number of companies and chief executives using blogs to take control over their firm’s online reputation and to build links and authority.

However, he said this was putting the onus on those companies to more closely manage this rather than farm it out to a third party without specialist skills in integrated content marketing.

Greer said conducting a content audit can “transform the functioning of a website” and while traditional SEO remains valid, the focus is switching on to the front-end experience.

He said: “In the light of Panda, the advent of content marketing and social media have rendered traditional SEO obsolete, hence the content driven approach.

“Specialist skills in integrated content marketing are, of course, important, but there are dangers in outsourcing content marketing to freelance or agency copywriters.

“What businesses need is topical, commercially neutral content that supports their proposition without being direct advertising.”

Vertical Leap has produced a number of articles on its blog about Panda and Greer said he would be happy to answer any questions Travolution readers have – anyone wishing to ask anything should email lee.hayhurst@travolution.co.uk.

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