Should Webmasters Pander to Google?

Webmasters around the world have been affected by Google's major shake-up of its search rankings. Know as the "Panda Update", it puts a real emphasis on page (and site) quality and usefulness.

Pages with poor quality content have naturally been pushed down in the ranks, and sites with a large proportion of poor quality pages have experienced some sort of 'site penalty'. Clearly there is a desire for webmasters to try and recover their rankings - and visitor numbers - but at what cost?

The standard 'google dance' of SEO-savvy webmasters dancing around Google's changes, and vice versa ad nauseam, has become much more difficult to perform. This time, it is the actual content of the website, not external factors, that are the problem. So, should webmasters pander to Google and rip out anything that has either been de-ranked or just doesn't meet arbitrary usefulness thresholds? There is even the suggestion that changing the website structure - by creating niche subdomains - will recover old traffic levels.

Before you dive in head-first with a scalpel and carve out 'dead wood' and slice it up into niche-sized chunks, spare a thought for the human visitor. Will they (or their browsing experience) get confused by your changes, and is there a way for you to make your pages more useful? Do you even ask your visitors how helpful they find the page? Listen and evaluate instead of just making grand assumptions and rash decisions.


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