Because Google’s Panda filter has so dramatically impacted many websites, there is a lot of speculation about which specific triggers activate Panda’s filter. I am not going to pretend that I know the exact causes. However, I do know the warning signs that are common among Panda sites, and I am working to avoid them.
Overall, my website has been ranking well and turning a nice profit for over 5 years. It has decent backlinks, and all key pages have other sites linking to them. Several pages are consistently referenced by authority websites in the industry. So why am I worried? I had a photo gallery section of about 500 pages which is about 1/2 of my site. That’s right – half of my pages had almost no text content or external backlinks. To my paranoid SEO brain that sounds like high potential for triggering the Panda beatdown.
My simple solution was to create quality descriptions for all 500 pages to add value and text to the pages. The problem is that I’m an affiliate marketer and therefore lazy. Even if I was not lazy, it is just not realistic for one person to describe 500 images using unique text. I would have ended up writing 500 descriptions that all sounded similar to each other – which is not great for adding unique value to these pages.
That means I need to hire writers, which introduces a new problem – I’m cheap and hate wasting money (okay, my cheapness is not a new problem). My normal writers charge between $10 to $30 per page depending on the topic and length. I was not about to spend $5,000 to $15,000 on this project. That position led me to the one place that provides fast turn arounds on large projects for reasonable amounts of money – MTurk .
In case you are not familiar with MTurk, it is a crowd sourcing service created and maintained by Amazon. They have hundreds of thousands of humans willing to do simple and quick tasks for pennies.
I posted my project on Mturk in batches to better control the process. I also posted very clear instructions about what should and should not be in the descriptions. I then set the price at about $1 for a minimum word count of 200.
The results? I ended up with 500 unique descriptions with an average length slightly over 300 words written by over 260 different people costing me a total of about $550. It also cost me a significant amount of time to manage the project. Several people tried to submit duplicate answers or stolen content. I had to review all descriptions and that took a few hours. I ended up rejecting 56 submissions that were later completed successfully by other writers. Overall, I spent a bit of time and money to end up with good quality content that has definitely added a lot of value to the weaker parts of my site.