I have been trying to make sense of all the comments that I find on the Web, relating to the Google Panda Updates. And in doing so, attempting to clarify in my mind what to do and what not to do.
The traffic to my Website was greatly diminished. On analysis, the first thing that I noticed was that the Google Search was ignoring the "com.au" - it was no longer showing preference to Australian Websites. So I had to add "Australia" to each page on my Website.
Then a further change by Google, it ignored the "Australia" in a sidebar, and I had to put it into the Title of each page. The traffic to the Website improved slightly.
Another Panda Update
When monitoring the phrase "Access database programmer", all of a sudden I was back on page one, without the need for "Australia" to further qualify the search phrase. It seems that Google have been refining and correcting the search algorithms in each release. And giving me more grey hairs.
To draw any conclusions about SEO before all the changes have settled down and finalised, is premature. Of course with traffic diminishing and panic setting in, it is all very well to hope that Google will eventually stop making changes. But the SEO response is a call for action - the inevitable result is to tweak something - anything.
SEO is very difficult when we are aiming at a moving target. I am sure that Google will inevitably get it right. But in the meantime there will be some innocent bystanders that become casualties.
Suggestions from the Web
One SEO suggestion that I came across that is mentioned frequently - a Keyword density of 4% is too high. It should be reduced to as low as 2% with a lower chance of being penalised. Well I have the word "access" occurring naturally throughout my entire Website at a much greater density than 4.0%, and have still achieved page one ranking. So much for that suggestion.
Then there was a comment that H1 and H2 tags should not contain any Keywords. Again, this has not been my experience.
All is in a state of Flux
I am reminded of the experiment by Professor Skinner, getting pigeons to hop on one foot, in expectation of food. I feel very much like one of those pigeons in trying anything for the reward of better rankings.
We should beware of simplistic conclusions drawn about a very sophisticated set of rules. Especially when those rules are in a state of flux.