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Ticket SEO Post Panda and Penguin

Optimizing Ticket SEO with the Latest Google UpdatesIt’s been a while since we touched on search engine optimization for event tickets and boy has a lot changed.  In case you haven’t heard or haven’t noticed, Google has released a series of updates to their search algorithm over the past year which was dubbed the “Panda” update.  The Panda update was Google’s attempt to remove poor quality content from it’s search results.  While there is debate on what Google deems poor quality content, the result was that out-dated, poorly written, and largely plagiarized content were penalized or filtered in the search results.  For the most part, if website owners were good about using high-quality original content they probably didn’t notice much of a change in traffic from search engines.  Tickifieds was lucky enough to avoid any appreciable impact of the Panda update.

While google has made some minor tweaks here and there for the better part of a year since it’s initial release on February 24th, 2011 a big ol’ whammy hit many blog and website owner’s on April 24th, 2012.  This time the update was named after another cute and cuddle black and white animals, the “Penguin”.  The Penguin update had a much different target…webspam.  This update is said to decrease the search engine rankings for websites and/or pages that violate Google’s Quality Guidelines.  Some of the key things Google seemed to target were sites that used low-quality article marketing, forum and blog comment spam, and keyword stuffing.  A lot of these tactics have been termed “Black Hat SEO” for years and most website owner knew to avoid employing any of these methods to gain better traction in the search engines.

Now I am all for increasing the quality of the search results even it it means that my websites lose some traffic and business.  However, the latest Google updates have seemingly had a larger impact on small to medium sized businesses and newer websites- Tickifieds.com included.  This is largely due to the fact that a penalty has been imposed on websites that have been identified as not meeting Google’s Quality Guidelines.  I have a big problem any time a penalty is imposed as it opens up the door to negative SEO.  That is where you can impose a penalty on your competitors by employing some of those “Black Hat” tactics. The big companies with well aged domains have not seen this affect as they have a much larger link profile and the bad is diluted by all the good.

As mentioned above, it appears that Google has hit Tickifieds with some sort of penalty after the Penguin update on April 27th.  The good news is that we at Tickifieds have never employed any Black Hat tactics or tried to game Google into placing our website higher in the search results.  I believe as a result of this, Tickifieds still ranks extremely high for plenty of keywords.  However, we have seen a significant decline in the rankings for many individual ads.  I believe this is due to the fact that many of the ads currently on our site are clearly using boilerplates for their ads and stuffing in too many links.  By using templated ads and stuffing links, the ads probably appear like spam to google and possibly many visitors.    To counteract the impact of Penguin, try to incorporate these tips into your ads:

  1. Use unique and compelling titles aimed at a potential customer – not search engines
  2. Use unique and well thought out descriptions for each ad- ad some value for the visitor and potential customer.
  3. Do not go overboard with trying to fit in as many keywords as possible. Focus on making a sales pitch not trying to fit as many keywords as possible into your ad.
  4. Use only 1 or 2 links maximum in each ad.
  5. Use unique images when possible.

There are several good resources out there with solid tips on how to deal with SEO following the Penguin update.  Some good ones are here and here.

If you were affected by the Panda or Penguin updates on your ticket or entertainment related website, we’d love to hear from you!