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Google’s Panda update hit the article marketing world like a ton of bricks.  Overnight, the organic rankings of millions of web pages had been decimated.  A substantial percentage of those web pages were part of a business model that relied on monetizing search traffic through advertising.  So, when the rankings and traffic went out the window, so did those websites’ revenue.

Major article directory websites were pounded.  The ones hit badly included pretty much every major website where people like us normally published our articles.  That means websites like EzineArticles.com were hit hard.

Since that update and other ones that were implemented around the same time, webmasters have been trying to find out what metrics Google was using to identify which pages or which sites deserved to lose ranking.  People said it was a combination of things.  They said it was because of duplicate content.  They said it was because of too much advertising above the fold.  They said it was for unnatural inbound link profiles.  They said it was because those sites were publishing spam.  All of these may have played a part.

However, in the grand scheme of things, Google was really making a statement that was pretty clear to understand.  Google said “ If the average person thinks your content deserves a lower ranking in the search results, then Google is going to try to adjust their search results accordingly.”  Google was simply responding to what its core user wanted to see happen.  People had been bitching to Matt Cutts (head of Google’s web anti-spam team) about how content farm style websites should not have their material outranking original higher quality content from lesser well known websites.

Google conducted some quality tests to verify whether the average user felt the same way or not.  Low and behold, pretty much everyone agreed that the content on those content farm sites (article directory style websites) did not merit page one rankings in the search results in most cases.  People really didn’t trust what they were reading on those kinds of websites.

How This Impacted Article Marketers Like UsIt casted doubt as to whether you would be able to get an article to rank well on these major article directory sites.It casted doubt on whether it would still be worth the effort required to publish articles on these websites for marketing purposes any moreIt tells us that Google is going to continue trying to adjust the ranking of pages according to what people’s perception of the content quality is.It tells us that low quality content whether duplicate content or spun content or content with too much advertising or any other really low quality content is going to be increasingly more difficult to get any results with.It tells us that people who are trying to fool Google into a good ranking for a low quality page on a low quality website are going to be fighting an even harder uphill battle.It made us realize that in the long run the search engines are going to get much better at basing their algorithms around realistic human opinions.

 
What To Do In The Panda Aftermath

If you are publishing well written articles in an effort to generate true human interest in what your website offers your target audience, then you need not really worry too much about the Panda update or any future quality updates made by the search engines.  If you aren’t spamming or using black hat software of some kind then Google has no reason to want to punish you.

If you are using software to semi-automate your article marketing or if you are using an article spinning and distribution service then maybe you ought to think about what you are going to do if that service quits working completely.  Are there maybe some smarter ways you can get enough inbound link power to your website?

If you are really scared of Panda and the way that it keeps getting harder to spam your way to the top of the search results, then maybe it is time to upgrade the quality of the projects you are working on.  It’s just a thought.

What Kind of Future Updates Are On The Horizon

It appears that Google is going to try to assign authority to individual authors now instead of just judging articles on their individual basis.  Google will also probably try assigning authority to usernames in social media.   At some point, if you are a well known author in your field, you will probably have an article rank quite highly regardless of where you get it published.  Then website owners will fight to try and convince the most authoritative people in their field to write content for them even more so than you see happening currently.