See what we did there? BAMBOOzled. All punning aside, the truth is that the rabid Panda big G released from its caged laboratory early this year, came along and feasted on the sour underbelly of the Internet. "Hooray," we hear you cry, "Those pop-up pirates had it comin'." But unfortunately, it was not just the Viagra-selling, lottery-promising websites that were hurt by Panda, it took a few good men down as well, and many webmasters awoke from their first page fantasy to find themselves ousted to the back of the queue.
So, what does this mean for you and your website? Well, first and foremost, that sweatshop style content, harvested from the fingers of underpaid and overworked "writers" who could not care less about your site, just won't stick anymore. The Panda cares. A lot. Think of it as door security for the most exclusive party you have ever been to: if you are not impeccably dressed, or your date is of ill repute, you ARE NOT GETTING IN!
So, without further padding, here are the questions you should be asking yourself about your website.
First of all, "Does the information on your site appear trustworthy?"
The majority of this question is directed to those back-alley, black-hat SEO's who enjoy stuffing content full of keywords like a hyper-active child, stuck on repeat. Take this sentence for example,
"When considering a laser printer, there really is only one laser printer an individual concerned with a laser printer should buy and this laser printer is the X-laser printer."
Would you trust this as a credible source? Bad copy, naughty copy, off the Google couch.
Does the information on your site appear to be written by an expert?
So you didn't pass the bar exam, and that doctorate you dreamed of as a child never manifested itself, but remember, there are varying degrees of expertise! You don't need to be a scholar, just a credible voice in your chosen field.
Does your webpage have obvious errors?
I thunk we can all aggree that a sight with obviuos errors is an oying.
Does your website provide original, insightful content or information?
With the arteries of the Internet so clogged full of information, is there room to be original anymore? The answer is yes. You have a business model, a voice, a USP, granted it may not be as revolutionary as some, but find your angle and work it.
Would you consider bookmarking your website?
This is the killer question! Look at your bookmarks. Only the best of the best with the most valuable information made the grade right? Take a long, hard look in the Internet mirror and ask yourself, "Would I bookmark my page?"
Do you have excessive adverts on your page?
The days of the pop-up pirates ruling the dial-up seas are long gone. I think they all died of scurvy. Learn from their mistakes.
Would you expect to see this article in print?
Some would argue that the Woooorld Wiiiiiide Weeeeeeb (said with echo) is responsible for the death of the written word. The Internet is rife with bad grammar, sloppy punctuation and unnecessary acronyms (lolz!). Don't be one of those websites. Instead:
Write for print.
This is your content mantra. Write it down and tape it to your monitor. If we all get together and have this attitude, wouldn't the Internet be a better place?
Would you give the site your credit card details?
The dreaded CC details. Even entering them into the giants like Amazon and PayPal still fills people full of dread and dubitation. Online fraud and identity theft are still on the rise and you need to do everything you can to make your customers realize you are a genuine and trusted source. This means a well thought out, easy to navigate and professional site that has zero errors. And sometimes this takes a little more than simply pasting a CC logo onto your homepage.