How Google's Panda 4.0 Algorithm Update Helped Glassdoor

The latest update to the Google (NASDAQ: GOOG  ) (NASDAQ: GOOGL  ) search algorithm sent waves through the Internet. While most of the focus was on companies that saw a decrease in visibility on Google search results pages, the algorithm also benefited several companies.

One such company seeing a significant boost in visibility on Google since the newest algorithm, dubbed Panda 4.0, rolled out is Glassdoor.com. The company-review website's visibility more than doubled on Google after the update, and it had the largest absolute gain in visibility of any website, according to SearchMetrics.

Let's examine what exactly Glassdoor.com is doing to please Google.


Source: Glassdoor.com

A quick primer on Panda 4.0
In the past, generating hundreds of links back to a website would result in high placement in Google search results. Over the last few years, however, Google has come down on those websites that gamed the system by generating thousands of links to websites with unsubstantial content.

The goal behind the Panda algorithm is to weed out websites with thin, non-authoritative content. The latest update, 4.0, seems to focus specifically on those websites that use spammy tactics to generate links to its website.


He'd never hurt a thing.Would he? Source: Wikimedia Commons

While Google penalized a lot of sites that simply aggregate information, it also rewarded those that provide useful original content. How it judges this is unclear, but Google did mention it would use "user feedback signals" as part of the Panda algorithm.

Why Glassdoor was rewarded
In the case of Glassdoor, it's easy to see why Panda likes the site. The data Glassdoor collects from employees allows it to provide exactly what job seekers are searching for on Google.

Glassdoor's director of search engine optimization, Ehren Reilly, pointed out that Glassdoor's and Google's goals are aligned -- get people the information they need.

"At Glassdoor, one of our top priorities is improving our product for job seekers to help them get the information they need, direct from employees, to make a more informed career decision," Reilly told the Fool in an email. "The better we are at fulfilling this hunger for job-related information, the more likely it is that search engines will refer job seekers to us."

Glassdoor has data on how well employees like the company they work for, average salary information, company ratings, and more. These data are unique to Glassdoor, making it an authority on the subjects job seekers are most interested.

How might this impact Glassdoor's business?
Obviously, increased visibility on Google search results is a positive for any company. Keep in mind that the 100% increase in visibility won't necessarily translate into a 100% increase in traffic referred to Glassdoor by Google. It just means that Glassdoor.com will show up on the first page of Google for twice as many search terms. How much people are searching for those terms will determine the traffic bump.

Glassdoor declined to comment on how much traffic Google generates for its website. According to Alexa.com, however, more than 35% of its visitors came from google.com. It's safe to say Glassdoor is heavily reliant on Google for traffic.

What's more, Glassdoor is heavily reliant on traffic to increase revenue. The company makes money in two ways: brand management for employers, and job advertising. As traffic climbs on the site, the rates it charges for these services have increased.

Lessons from Glassdoor
Glassdoor's SEO, or search engine optimization, strategy is remarkably simple. It provides the information job seekers are looking for and presents it to them in a useful way.

For website owners or investors in web companies, examine what unique advantage you or your investment has that will benefit the audience. Google is working to provide its users with the best possible information, your website should be too. Glassdoor's certainly does.

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