Panda Improves Google Search Results

It’s hard to hear the word panda and not think of the martial arts star of a recent summer movie. Google’s Panda is fighting another battle — to improve search results.

Named after the anti-spam programmer who created it, Panda is designed to improve user experience by delivering better search results. Panda relies on Google's Quality Raters, who rate sites based on how enjoyable the site is to visit. Quality Raters are also asked questions such as: Would you trust this site with your credit card? Other questions include would users trust the content and do they like the design.

After seeing their search rankings drop, many managers of top websites are up in arms about Panda. Yes, Panda will change the way many businesses approach search engine optimization. Panda offers an opportunity for sites that focus on quality content and attractive design to rise in search results.

By receiving most of their news and information via social media, web users already rely on friends to act as filters. Panda has the potential to level the playing field, acting as the referee in the battle for eyeballs.

For more information about Panda, check out the following video:




Quality Web Content Gets Google Boost

Google made changes this week aimed at "content farms," which are designed to boost search ratings for websites. Google said its search algorithm should give users "the most relevant answers to their queries as quickly as possible." Some website owners complained the change "is killing our businesses."

The new search algorithm follows an exposé last weekend by The New York Times indicating venerable J.C. Penney hired a search engine optimization firm to create websites that linked to the retailer's main website, thus boosting its ratings. Google responded by lowering their search status, which prompted J.C. Penney to fire SearchDEX.

Overstock also was busted by Google for allegedly manipulating students to place favorable links on their school websites. And the company recently unveiled a personal block list that Google 24/7 blogger Seth Weintraub says would allow "users to block content from their research results as they see fit."

All this action takes place amid a backdrop of complaints from users who say it is hard to get legitimate search results in between "content farms" and "content scrapers. "It reflects a Google," Weintraub claims, "on a mission to clean up its reputation." According to the annual Harris Interactive Reputation Quotient Survey that polls more than 30,000 respondents, Google holds the top ranking for reputation among highly visible companies.

Using Google Places to Increase Your Business’ Visibility

CFM has used Google Places to promote its services and website.Last April, Google announced a new feature for Google Maps: Google Places. Places allow businesses to add extended information to Google Maps listings.

Through these profiles, businesses provide relevant information directly to customers, such as hours and services, and dynamic content including photos and videos. By allowing businesses to claim listings, Google also insures that its content is up-to-date and accurate.

Press Releases: Publish Yourself

Where will you send your press releases if traditional print and broadcast news outlets continue to shrivel or move to new business models? Maybe you should consider publishing your own press releases.

The emergence of the Internet and social media has eroded the economic footings of traditional media. Fewer reporters and no room in the news hole have replaced reportorial skepticism of spoon-fed press releases.

At the same time, Web sites and social media afford opportunities to interact directly with customers and constituents. You can post your press releases so customers and constituents can read them without the filter of a reporter, copy editor and headline writer.