[Q] How can retailers best deal not only with the early 2010 Panda update (and how are they dealing with this so far?), but also the more recent “fresh” update?
[A] Obviously continent differentiation is essential for affiliates – there needs to be a unique measure of a value-add for users. It’s not enough to simply take a feed from a retailer and roll in into your navigation and front-end services. Some affiliates are rethinking how they use reviews, social media and other UGC, others are localizing to go with the lay of the land, so to speak.
I don’t think the freshness factors of Google’s more recent algo update really affects this facet of the ever evolving Panda algorithms. Where the algo update might help out online retailers is for annual events if white sales, black Friday sales and such are treated as regularly recurring events, like conferences and TV series, presidential elections and such are said to be treated with the algo update. Time will tell if this does help ensure only this year’s or the freshest content is indeed available to searchers. What’s really interesting about this is that I’ve always recommending doing some link harvesting for annual events. In order words, when possible, take last year’s event and 301 it to this years. If you have to recap some of the details from last year, send the content to a new URL and don’t promote it. This algo change could render this not process of link harvesting unnecessary, but you still could use the canonical tag to have the same affect in Google at least if the algo update does not perform as anticipated or expected.
Retailers need to avoid falling into a useless content trap to avoid having their results dampened by Panda updates. And let’s be clear about this, Panda is an not an penalty maker, although it may feel like it if your site has been affected by it. Content created by internal site search refinements and programmatic creation of internal site search results pages have created Panda problems for a few online retailers. Canonical tags for preferred content and meta robots exclusions for low quality content can help to get a retailer out of Panda snares, but it takes time to alleviate the issues and regain the domain trust and site authority from Google.