Is PPC a Good Safety Net for Panda Updates?


Photo credit: Stéfan

Panda, Panda, Panda… Pandas haunt me again*.

I am sure most of you know about the big Google Panda (or Farmer) update and now it is suspected the next version of that update is rolling out. This update is meant to help websites with unique content rank higher than content scraping sites.

In theory this is perfect but in real life some businesses who were practicing good SEO got hurt in the process. We know some customers, peers and vendors who saw their search rankings go down after this update was launched.

One big example is if you are selling a product and a bunch of different retail outlets are selling your product. In most cases they take the approved copy from you and post it on their own site. To a Google bot that looks just like scraped text – which is a big no-no, especially now.

Picking up the Panda pieces

In his live video chat, Matt Cutts got a lot of questions about the Panda update and he let us know there would be an update at some point (soon). Many people in the chat and on blogs have expressed their frustration with the slap on the wrist from Google after this update and they want to know how to get back in good standing.

I just read a blog from Search Engine Watch about their Top 5 Google Panda Update SEO Survival Tips. The biggest being – don’t rely solely on SEO for your website’s success. That makes a lot of sense! If you can spread your traffic sources around, your site will be building in other areas even if it takes a hit in one. You can read more about types of traffic sources on this blog post here.

PPC can help

In the Search Engine Watch article Garry explains why he feels PPC has several advantages over SEO:

  • Product: Guaranteed exposure to only those products and services you want to promote in search results. Match keywords to exact product offerings and watch conversion skyrocket.
  • Price: In this case, it’s not the price of the product or services offered, but the price your business pays for the traffic itself. Don’t forget to factor in all the time and effort invested into ranking for keywords in organic results, and how often changes may be required.
  • Promotion: While you can change the content surrounding your products, you may not have the same amount of creative license to change that content as quickly for mainstay (SEO targeted) pages versus paid search landing pages, nor will you necessarily have control over which pages Google chooses to display in results pages for any given query.
  • Place: Distribution of your product won’t change, but distribution of your product in organic SERPs may be highly elastic versus highly-controllable paid search campaigns.
  • People: Perhaps the most important component is your inability to control and target behavioral cues in search queries using SEO. It doesn’t get much better than the complete control that multiple keyword match types, negative match keyword lists, and advanced query performance reporting affords a search marketer.

Pretty smart. There is some security in a well-planned and targeted PPC campaign. Pandas or no Pandas – PPC can help bring some new website users to your site that you couldn’t dream of with SEO alone.

Are you prepared for Panda 2.2? Did you even notice a change with the original Panda update?


* Who is haunted by Pandas right? Want to know the ONLY word that rhymes with ‘Amanda’? You guessed it – PANDA! Know what I got for every holiday and birthday? Pandas! Panda clothes, stuffed pandas, panda radio, panda jewelry box, walking pandas, panda air freshener, panda coloring books, panda EVERYTHING. It was actually a bit scary if you saw my room as a child. I should probably see a therapist that specializes in panda overload.