This is an interesting, if highly speculative, discussion on what Panda is about: http://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4302140.htm
The stuff from Matt Cutts, a few weeks ago, about page readability as an issue certainly suggests user metrics are starting to be more important.
Also, there have been hints from Google that it is using data from site blocking in the Chrome browser.
The 'happy user'factor someone mentions in the webmasterworld forum might be what Panda is all about.
Just as an aside- I think commercial pages are more prone to seriously negative reactions than other kinds of page. People hate poor sales pitches and bad copy writing more than honest but dull recipe pages.
I reckon, if you can't write a good Amazon or Ebay page, leave it well alone.
Edit: something from SEOmoz on the same subject: http://www.undercoverstrategist.com/blo … anges.html
I read something similar a while back about toolbar metrics being used. I guess it makes sense. Any business wants happy 'customers/clients'.
That's one of the major factors I mentioned in my study of Panda on Hubpages and Squidoo back in March: user experience.
The guidelines released by Google about Panda shortly afterwards confirmed it: part of Google's recent tweaks are attempting to measure user experience, satisfaction and interactivity. Google+ data, social media shares from "authorities" (not everyone, just bigwigs, alas), and search results blocking are all factored in, and Google is continuing to experiment with ways to sift out signal from noise as it tracks how users interact with and find things on your page. User satisfaction will become an ever-stronger Google factor as it finds new ways to measure and analyze user behavior.
That's why I recommended free downloads, buttons to push and poke (e.g. polls and quizzes, where applicable), and of course being brief, to the point and entertaining so that visitors don't leave.
Also, establish what the page covers and what visitors will get out of your page in the first sentence or so. Your trailer/teaser doesn't have to be elaborate, but give them a reason to be there and tell them what you're going to give them (a review, an interesting story about X, information about Y). Then deliver on that promise for the rest of the page.
We have a serious disadvantage because we're trying to earn money from adverts we don't control, which tend to drive a proportion of visitors away. We have to do what we can, especially in the first screen, to capture visitors' attention and give them something worth their time. Or at the least, we have to persuade them that if they read on, they WILL get something worth their time.
Try to write for Sammy the Ten Second Surfer. Envision the rest of the internet crowding around your page, enticing your visitors away like the smell of free chocolate. What have you got that can combat that powerful suction force dragging people away?
I can't possibly compete with free chocolate!!
The introductory paragraph is the paragraph that I sweat over. Grab someone's attention at the beginning and you have a chance to carry them through to the end.
I also use pictures as the first item on most pages. I want people to be convinced they have found a page that will address the issues they want addressing. My first photos tend to be montages that try to act as instant page summaries.
You tube videos really help keep people on a page too. I have an article on 'chemical weathering'- not especially exciting- that gets an amazing 11 minutes as an 'average time spent on page' metric in analytics. That can only come from the vids that happen to be a perfect match.
@ Greekgeek - +1 for your post
@Will Apse - very good links! I especially liked the video on SEOmoz.
I also heard that now google can search and recognize pictures, duplicate pictures could as duplicate content. Not sure if that is true....
My word! Would that mean that anything we have used from Flickr or Wikimedia (or elsewhere) would be duplicate content? What about our own pictures that someone else may have copied? This may be going to get even worse than it has been!
You are not the only person thinking about this: http://www.google.com/support/forum/p/W … &hl=en
It is certainly much easier to find stolen images these days and also easier to complain about it.
I'm not sure Google will hit pages with duplicate images, though. Plenty of images are copyright free. Plenty are publicity photos that the creators are happy to see spread around.
You never know for sure, though.
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