In theory, the Panda update, which was introduced a few months ago, was supposed to level the playing field and allow for exclusively quality content to be appearing high up in the rankings as opposed to the typical spam which seemed to clog up the SERPs.
In practice, it does seem as if some people have found that it’s all but impossible to compete with the big boys in any given industry since they have the resources to continue doing SEO the right way. However, there are ways to do it, even when you don’t have much of a budget.
It’s All about Quality
The first thing to realize regarding the Panda update is that the whole point is to create quality content. This means writing things that people actually want to read and which actually shows your readers (aka customers) that you care about the subject you are writing about. This does mean that the era of super cheap $2 articles is likely coming to an end – you simply cannot buy junk which has been poorly spun and then plaster it all over the web, expecting it to get you lots of backlinks.
Good Writers Still Available
That said, because the writing business has undergone such dramatic changes, there are still lots of writers who are willing to work for a reasonable price. I for example charge $20-$40 for a 500 word piece of content writing depending on how complex the subject is. Is this the two dollar junk you used to be able to spew all over the web before Panda? No. But it’s still affordable for a small scale operation to purchase enough content to create quality backlinks.
It Matters Where You Put Content
Because you now need to create better quality content in order to get backlinks, it pays to choose carefully the locations that you place your content. Dumping hundreds of articles onto every piece of junk article directory you can find is no longer the best of ideas. Instead, you need to put the content onto sites which are actually going to provide you with some real link juice.
Do Guest Blogs or Link Networks
My feeling is that rather than trying to spam the Internet with your backlinks, it’s best to start putting your content out on the web as guest blogs or by using link networks. These kinds of sites generally will give you a better quality backlink than the junk that you see spread over the web which has no value.
Bottom line, you can still compete with the big boys. However, it does require a little bit more effort and a little bit more imagination than it took before.