When you hear the phrase “Google Panda” mentioned by a fellow SEO, you may cringe inside. You may brace yourself for the inevitable, “Panda took away all my traffic.”

And if you’re an avid reader of SEOSiteCheckUp.com, you’ll know we’ve talked a lot about how Panda’s been decimating websites left and right. We’ve also talked about how you can recover from a Panda slap and reach the level of traffic you were at before the update.

But the truth is, Panda wasn’t really an update designed to destroy SEO’s livelihood. No, it was an update designed to clean up the search engine rankings. Think about the results that have been popping up on page #1 recently. You probably haven’t noticed a whole lot of fluff. In fact, very few queries pull up an EzineArticles page or a Squidoo lens.

Instead, you’ll find relevant and high-quality sites dominating page #1 for virtually every keyword you search. This is all thanks to Panda. So although you may hate Panda as an SEO (you shouldn’t if you know “New SEO” principles), you have to admit – it’s been doing exactly what Google wanted it to do.

With all this talk about sites being de-indexed, it’s easy to miss the other side of things: high-quality sites soaring through the rankings to take the place of the de-indexed ones.

Yes, there are a significant amount of websites that improved their rankings as a result of Panda. There are many websites that exploded in growth and traffic levels after panda. With all the sites being de-indexed and penalized, all that traffic had to go somewhere! 

In today’s article, we’ll be discussing what the post-Panda success story websites have in common. By taking these principles and applying them to your own website, you’ll see an increase in traffic, more conversions, more interaction… the whole nine yards.

A Focus on User Reviews

Have you noticed a trend on Google lately? More and more review websites are popping up on page #1. More and more 1-5 star indicators are showing up alongside page #1 links. 

Google’s realized people care about reviews. They care about other people’s opinions on the products/services they’re about to purchase. As a result, part of Panda was making sure reviews stood out and could be found on page #1.

So what do you do for your website? If possible, give customers incentive to leave reviews. Not only does this help your rankings, but it’ll also improve your business. This is a very common trend within Google Panda changes – once you optimize for “New SEO,” your entire business improves significantly.

The “Share” Incentive

Not all websites can feature hundreds of reviews. However, the vast majority of sites can benefit from social media. Websites that have flourished since panda are websites with a very active social following.

A following that “likes,” “shares,” and “tweets” every single post. A following that doesn’t hesitate to share a link and start a discussion on Facebook. 

As we’ve talked about before, it’s becoming more and more evident that Google favors social votes over backlinks. We might not be at the point of no return yet – links still matter significantly in the overall SEO process. However, authority sites ranking on page #1 of Google have moved on from backlinking to building an active social following.

The result of this is more social votes, a massive and loyal audience, and, once again, increased business.

Seamless User Experience

The minimalist style is in. More and more websites are popping up with clean and easy to navigate templates. This fits right in with what Google’s trying to do with Panda. 

When Google gives you links on page #1, they want those links to get you exactly what you want without any hassle. They don’t want you to have to click on a link and dig through the site to find what you’re looking for. They want you to land on a site that has a fluid and seamless user experience – a minimalist website that gets you exactly what you want without wasting your time.

This is a big one for Google. When penalized sites have improved their user experience (decreased bounce rates, increased average time on site, etc), their rankings have increased dramatically.

What This All Means

The conclusion is simple; you give your users what they really want and Google will give you traffic you want.

The purpose of the Google updates have been to turn the user experience into something great. The websites that used shady SEO tactics to gain traffic have started to fall off the grid, so that leaves room for new websites to jump into the limelight, and there is no reason why it could not be your site.

Think about this: The website that started with 10x more marketing dollars than you and dominated the market with purchased backlinks, outsourced articles, and cornered keywords and keywords phrases made your life miserable. You could not even get on the top four pages of Google’s result pages since they seemed to strong-arm you out of the light. After the updates, many of those sketchy sites disappeared, leaving room for small business owners who were doing things right to move into the spotlight.

So, the websites that were using blackhat SEO tactics, sure they are upset about the change, but websites that were following the predictions and the warnings from SEOSiteCheckUp.com are now reaping the benefits of the change.

All Google wanted was a happier and more effective user experience, so what is so wrong with that? Is that not what you want? If not, it should be, otherwise, you risk being de-indexed, pushed to the last pages of the search results, and losing traffic, status, and revenue.

A lot of the information has been miscommunicated about the updates. Many SEO specialists started slamming the major search engine for making drastic changes. But, there was plenty of warning that this could happen, including us, telling you that quality was the right path, not quantity. Google’s guidelines have always been clearly stated, and they still are. So, if you have not been following them, or you are not even aware of what they are, you better start reading and make the changes that are needed to keep up with the efforts of Google.

Can you do it? Yes, you can!

Your visitors are your number one priority now, so start thinking about how you search, what you expect from the sites you visit, and what information you need. 

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