YOAST is the handle of one Joost de Valk, a WordPress specialist extraordinaire who is best known for his search engine optimization (WordPress SEO Plug-In) plug-in. It is regarded among the most essential of all add-ons to anyone’s site. Appropriately, he subtitles his website “The Art & Science of Website Optimization.”
He also sends out a regular email newsletter, to which I subscribe. The subject of today’s newsletter is “google’s panda urges overweight sites to take a diet” (which I lifted for the title as this post that you are reading). It addresses modifications/improvements in Google’s search abilities:
“Every once in a while, Google rolls out its Panda update, constantly refining it to improve the overall search quality. It’s a query-based algorithm that’s supposed to remove redundant, irrelevant content and spam from Google’s index.
Last week, Google rolled out a Panda update that’s referred to as Panda 4.1. As our friends at SearchMetrics show, the losers are almost all thin content sites, among them lots of lyrics and game sites.
We were very pleased to see a few sites we worked with after the previous update among the biggest winners, as they had their Panda penalty lifted. We helped them with what’s often called a ‘Panda diet.’ This diet consists among other things of removing pages that [have] no or low quality content from the search engine’s index.”
And I couldn’t be happier! Well of course I could be happier: Google could find a way to separate purely commercial sites that offer only products or services for sale from actual content-driven, informational sites (even if they are rightwing bloggers who can’t seem to separate opinion from fact).
Chad and Jeremy and arks
As a researcher, it is frustrating and pointless to do research on Google or any other search engine and find that the first 60-80 sites listed are all trying to sell you the item that you are researching to write an article on why no one should want to purchase said product.
As a writer (or ‘content provider’), it is even more of a teeth-gnasher to find that your heavily researched, lengthy piece on a rather rare record from the ‘60s (oh, let’s say Chad & Jeremy’s THE ARK) that offers historical data, collectors information, and a unique opinion on the music is buried on the third page behind Amazon, eBay, Facebook, staggeringly incomplete discographies, quoted lyrics lifted from another source who apparently never bothered to listen to the songs, etc.
Of course that example is from personal experience: go google “chad and jeremy the ark” and see where my piece titled “of cabbages and kings, of arks and attics – the pseudo-psychedelic sound of chad & jeremy 1967-1968 (part 3: the ark and painted dayglow smiles)” is listed!
But I ramble: I am glad to see any and all improvement in any and every search engine and just thought that I would pass the word along.