There has been a lot of buzz about one of the latest Google Panda update, so naturally many bloggers are writing about the importance of content and how to better the content on your website. For those who are unfamiliar, on September 28th, the Panda update (known as Panda 2.5) put a stricter emphasis on unique content and caused many small businesses traffic results to lower. Although some businesses such as FoxNews.com and YouTube benefited from the change, the complaints from small companies have not declined.
Content has always been important, and Google has always valued good content and tried to keep the unique content ranking high. This makes sense, and most would agree that this is the correct move. However, small businesses see this strict change as a way to keep the “big names” at the top of organic search rankings. Some smaller businesses have even gone on to say that the change was issued to help Google owned sites. This led me to wonder: Now that the update has been in effect for a just about two months, what have small businesses done to accommodate the change?
Why Small Businesses Are Now Having a Hard Time Competing
As with any Panda update, businesses have to change and adapt their methods to stay competitive. This idea has generally been accepted in the past, but this latest update has left many thinking that SEO is dead. There are really two reasons that the future of SEO has changed for small businesses:
Cost—While the main elements of organic SEO are in essence free, you have to consider the actual amount of effort and man hours that go into developing an SEO campaign. Many of the top companies have a content team as well as an SEO professional working full time to make sure their company is ranked well for an organic search. With the new stricter standards, this is almost a must for success, and this gets expensive. Most companies do not want to apply for a small business loan to pay for their SEO, but the latest changes leave many with few options.
Time—It takes months, or even years, to build back links, quality content, and positive reviews. These are the types of things that are (now more than ever) crucial when it comes to SEO; even if you have the team to make it happen. If a company decides to splurge with the expenses, they will need to see results immediately to prove to managers and investors that it was worth the cost. If not, they may not have the money to continue for another six months.
I bet I know what you’re thinking: Time and money have always been a factor when it comes to SEO. The only difference is that now it will be more expensive and take up more time. Since Google changed their algorithms, it’s really a question of degree for those left behind.
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SEO Isn’t Dead; It’s Just Taking a Break
Although it is a bit too early to tell, I predict that we will see small businesses utilizing pay per click marketing much more than SEO. It comes down to traffic and sales, and small businesses need both immediately. They need the customers right away so that they can begin establishing a customer base, and since SEO is so long term, they can’t afford to wait. Although organic search is more valuable than PPC in the long run, small businesses may not have the resources to make this happen as quickly as they could in years past.
However, while many are up in arms about Panda 2.5, saying that SEO is dead is a bit extreme. Although small businesses might shift focus to PPC advertising for the time being, SEO will come back eventually. After all, even if a small businesses uses PPC advertising to generate traffic and customers, they will not grow unless their site is at least on its way to becoming a site with quality content. Do you agree?
Photo Credit: blogs.theage.com.au