Can websites “buy” their way out of Panda?

A lot of change has been seen within the SERPs in the last couple of months, especially from Google rolling out different Panda Updates like Venice for Google Places.

It has been a frustrating game at times for many within the SEO industry since almost every week brought some new changes and existing optimization strategies (and we are talking high-end optimization ) had to be revised. Those revisions, however, sometimes did influence the performance within rankings in an unexpected manner and sometimes the situation even gotten worse.

So what can be done?

The classics are all known.

  • Add more quality content
  • Revise/Delete hardly used landing pages
  • Make the design more user friendly in order to
    positively influence bounce rates and length/depth of visit
  • No more “no-follow” on internal pages
  • Mark external image links as “no-follow” (since Google thinks that a lot of image links are paid for anyways ;)
  • Write guest articles with quality content
  • Use infographics to draw attention
  • Focus at least on 50% brand or compound keywording in linkprocesses
  • Use viral Tweet- and Sharebaits (Polls are great for that one!)
  • Revise local search strategies
  • Use rich snippets to increase click-through rates on search results
  • Use schema.org to mark up content and thus influence Universal Search

These are all known influences on the SEO process after Panda and every SEO should see whether any of these changes to apply on their webpages (Kai Spriesterbach, another German SEO, has written up a great post and a video presentation on how to change your site to get out of Panda).

But those changes might take time…

And not only time, but also money. And also possibly a whole relaunch of the website which certainly cannot be accomplished for large-scale websites overnight.

However, there is another factor that I have seen in the recent weeks, and this very odd factor looks like  PPC (paid adverts) spending after Panda has struck.

Since I am also monitoring large-scale OTAs (online travel agents) as competitors of one of our clients I did notice a interesting co-occurence:

  1. A lot of sites gotten hit by Panda again around middle of February 2012 (Feb 15th)
  2. In a first reaction a lot of those websites being hit by Panda geared up their Online Marketing spend (especially PPC) in order to make up for a shortage stemming from natural traffic
  3. After that increase in PPC spending a lot of the sites also bounced back in organic results, most of them even did better than before – quite an interesting co-occurence indeed!

But please see for yourselves:

www..weg.de visibility developmentwww..hotel.de visibility developmentwww.expedia.de visibility developmentwww.ab-in-den-urlaub.de visibility development

Only company which gotten hit pretty badly and did not recover yet is the OTA trivago.de

www..trivago.de visibility development

Thoughts on these developments

  1. PPC itself does not only increase traffic on the website, but also gets more visits through out the page – Google thus can see whether those pages are really interesting to users
  2. Although it is highly unlikely (a.k.a. “complete rubbish”) that Google would “reward” companies with a big PPC spend directly (I can already hear the uproar from the Google staff at Munich Im Tal Headquarters, no worries, I certainly do not think that this would be possible *lol*) it can be seen that there is some correlation between SEO and PPC data after Panda updates
  3. A big influencer might be the increase in brand searches due to PPC campaigns targeted on generic keywords. We have seen this with our clients quite often: it seems people do notice the message of branded PPC adds which appear right next to their generic searches and later on they search for those brands themselves. The increase in generic searches for brand and compound keywords might also positively influence the ranking of websites within Google (Even Matt Cutts says that they like brand ;)
  4. Only trivago.de seems to have lost most of its visibility and not recuperated yet; however one does notice a massive amount of offline advertising campaigns here in Germany in order to make the brand more known. Thus this brand will be monitored more closely in regards to developments out of branded search increase

These are 4 thoughts that instantly came to my mind – if you have anything to add please do feel free to use the contact form below :) And if you can see same results after increasing PPC please let me know as well.

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