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By Michelle Hill, Marketing Manager, Red Rocket Media

Youve no doubt come across the term Panda over these last few weeks, the launch of which will have significant impact on recruitment websites.  Panda is the name given to Googles latest search engine update.  Whilst Google makes hundreds of changes to its algorithm (the way in which it decides which websites to return in its search results) each year, every so often it releases a large update has a greater impact on websites.  The latest update is called Panda.

What is Panda
The Panda update was introduced to penalise websites for duplicating or scraping content from other websites.  Often referred to as content farms, these websites would scour the internet, lifting content from various websites and posting it to their own.  There are many job boards that do just that: their robots visit your website, scrape all the jobs and simply post to their own website amongst thousands of other jobs, often free of charge! 

As Im sure you know, search engines like Google love websites which post a regular supply of fresh content.  They are deemed more important than other websites and consequently are returned higher in their search results.  Many job boards were posting significant amounts of low quality content, simply to drive more traffic to their sites to grow advertising revenues.  It was all about quantity, not quality, adding little or no value to the job hunter.

So the algorithm got clever
Google has wised up to these content farms and instead of rewarding them for posting lots of fresh (albeit duplicated) content, it now penalises them by demoting them in the search results.

This is naturally going to have an impact on recruitment agencies who advertise on these sites.  For a long time, they have been happy to advertise their vacancies on these job boards as it means they could piggy-back on their page one rankings which would, in turn, drive traffic to their own websites.  Now though, in the absence of the content farms, they once again face the challenge of trying to get their own websites on page one, a full time job in itself!

Never before has original content been so important

Publishing original content is a major step towards enhancing your organic search results and never before has it been so important.  Without it, you simply will not beat the Panda algorithm.  Here are some steps you can take:


Make sure that your job descriptions are unique. Even if your client provides you with a written description, re-write it.  You can be sure that most of your competitors will just copy and paste the clients text which means that all of them will have exactly the same content (with the original probably on the clients website).  By re-writing it, you will set yourself apart in the eyes of the search engines and avoid being pinpointed as a content duplicator.


The Panda algorithm uses technology which enables it to identify high quality content against duplicate and poor quality content.  Simple measures like making sure that your spelling and grammar are correct will increase your credibility in the eyes of the search engines.

Website Experience
Google is also able to rate a visitors experience when they come to your website. They monitor how long the person stays on your site, indicating how valuable their visit has been.  The longer people stay, the higher the website is rated.  Take time out to review your website, its navigation, design and particularly content and try to improve the overall visitor experience.

Think BIGGER than just job descriptions

Whilst job descriptions are always going to be the main source of fresh, regular content on your website, recruitment agencies that think bigger will reap greater rewards.  Consider publishing blogs or industry news as these types of content are great for connecting people and spreading awareness of your brand.  If you post a headline on your social media sites, people will share and retweet it across their own networks, creating hundreds of new inbound links to the article housed on your website.  More inbound links = more traffic = more authority with the search engines.

At the end of the day, the Panda update isnt such bad thing, in fact for candidates its going to make the whole job hunting experience much easier as they wont have to trawl through pages and pages of duplicated job descriptions.  Recruitment agencies which see it as an opportunity to get their own original content out there will be the ones that come out on top, both from an SEO point of view and as industry thought-leaders.

To download our whitepaper entitled How recruitment agencies can increase their client and candidate base through effective content marketing, visit

By Michelle Hill, Marketing Manager, Red Rocket Media

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