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How Has the Panda Update Affected Small Businesses?

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Big-name sites like eHow saw significant decreases in their search engine rankings after the so-called Panda Update went into effect.  But while sites like this can depend on direct traffic, rather than focusing on search, smaller businesses who rely on search engine traffic have also been greatly affected by the update.  How are they faring?

While statistics haven’t been compiled as yet, the Wall Street Journal has reported that several businesses, primarily those selling retail goods, have seen declines of 20, 40, or even 60 percent since the Panda Update was initiated.  As you might guess, they have also seen corresponding drops in revenue.  UK businesses have been particularly hard hit.  It’s not that sites like PriceDash.com (which saw a 99.7 percent decline in traffic) or DiscountShoppingUK.co.uk (which declined 99.3 percent) depend on content from poor quality farms.  A big problem is that they do rely on manufacturer product descriptions for much of their content.

What can businesses do to improve their standings?  Some, as reported by the WSJ, are redoubling their SEO efforts, focusing on improving content and employing more effective techniques.  Others are looking for a non-Google answer altogether.  As mentioned, sites like eHow are focusing on direct traffic, rather than that generated by Google.  They are moving towards social media sites, like Facebook and Twitter, to direct traffic to their sites.

What is interesting, and hopeful for the sites affected by the Panda Update, is that there is more than one way to get your site noticed.  A comprehensive, inclusive SEO campaign will encompass search engine optimisation, of course, but also on up-and-coming tools offered by social media.

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