Google Rolls Out Panda 4.0 May 20, 2014

Google 4.0 rolloutMatt Cutts from Google has announced the release of a new version of their Google Panda algorithm, version 4.0. This announcement was made through a post on Google+ as well as from Google’s Matt Cutts on Twitter. According to the announcement, there will be a slow rollout of the update that will go on for about a week or so before all the changes have been effected. Google Panda penalizes sites with poor or shallow content from getting high rankings on its search engine.

Ever since 2012 when Google started their regular monthly updates there have been no major announcements on any improvement or changes to the Panda algorithm. The fact that they have done it this time must mean that this is a bigger update.

The Panda 4.0 has to be a major update to the last algorithm as opposed to just a data refresh as was the case with the monthly rolling updates. This marks a significant adjustment to how Panda identifies and gives scores to sites and their content.

Sources in Google suggest that this is a kinder Panda algorithm. This update also gives a suggestion of the direction that Google will be taking with the future adjustments. Those sites damned by the previous algorithm may have the chance to rise from the ashes. While it may be advantageous to some, this may not necessarily be the case for all. Other sites may experience penalties from this new version. The effect this adjustment has on such sites may be visible in few days to come. Sites that experience major changes to their traffic numbers may be as a result of the latest update.

Below are the previous confirmed Panda updates. We have taken the liberty of naming them according to the order in which they have happened with the major changes also called out with their AKA names:

Panda Update 1, AKA
Panda 1.0, 02/24/2011
Panda Update 2, AKA
Panda 2.0, 04/11/2011
Panda Update 3, 05/10/2011
Panda Update 4, 06/16/2011
Panda Update 5, 07/23/2011
Panda Update 6, 08/12/2011
Panda Update 7, 09/28/2011
Panda Update 8 AKA
Panda 3.0, 10/19/2011
Panda Update 9, 11/18/2011
Panda Update 10, 01/18/2012
Panda Update 11, 02/27/2012
Panda Update 12, 03/23/2012
Panda Update 13, 04/19/2012
Panda Update 14, 04/27/2012
Panda Update 15, 06/9/2012
Panda Update 16, 06/25/2012
Panda Update 17, 07/24/2012
Panda Update 18, 08/20/2012
Panda Update 19, 09/18/2012
Panda Update 20 , 09/27/2012
Panda Update 21, 11/5/2012
Panda Update 22, 11/21/2012
Panda Update 23, 12/21/2012
Panda Update 24, 01/22/2013
Panda Update 25, 03/15/2013
Panda Update 26 AKA
Panda 4.0, May 20, 2014
Panda Update 27 AKA
Panda 4.1, Sept. 25, 2014

As you can see most of the updates were back in 2012 with last year having very few updates. While there may have been unannounced releases, this list only includes those that have been confirmed by Google.  To see how your site can get to page 1 of Google, contact us today or call Jeff at 678-520-9925

Google Panda Update: What Affect Will It Have? (Google Farmer)

Google-Panda-UpdateThere has been a buzz about an update called “Panda” to the Google search algorithm.  It is also called “Farmer” in the news media.  It has many website owners, online businesses and Internet Marketers frantically wondering what effect it will have on their business.

The change is designed to reduce the rankings of low-quality sites.  What is a “low-quality” site?  Sites with little or no original content, content copied from other websites or sites that are just not very useful. The update will benefit high quality sites that provide a good user experience.  Sites with good original content, in-depth analysis, useful reports, interesting research and the like, should see better search engine rankings.

The big question many people ask is this: Will Google consider my site ‘low quality’ and penalize my site with a low ranking?”

Google seems to “play it close to the vest” with what seem to be intentionally ambiguous answers.  Matt Cutts, head of the webspam team at Google gives general guidelines, but nothing too specific. With the size of the web and huge variety of websites, getting too detailed would cause a great deal of questions and anxiety among website owners.  So we are left to trial and error and sharing our results.

Here is the main goal of the Panda:  “Thou shalt not run a website that is a content farmer”. This begs the question “what is considered a content farm?”

News sites are a good example of content farms since many are simply aggregator sites.  The DrudgeReport.com gets over 35,000,0000 hits a week and publishes no original content.  Will their ranking be affected?  Frankly, I don’t think it matters since the site is so well established, but smaller sites could certainly feel the impact.

Article directories and press release sites are two examples of sites typically considered content farms.  Article directories receive articles from submission services that submit the same articles to literally hundreds of other article directories. Ditto for press release sites.

But chances are your site is a legitimate business, often a brick and mortar business with an online presence, and not a directory.  So how will the update affect your site?

Google_Panda_UpdateHow Can You Benefit from Google Panda?

While low quality sites will certainly be affected, sites that offer unique, quality content are experiencing an improvement in their search engine rankings.  Better rankings mean more traffic and more revenue.

Here are some practical tips you can implement in your business to get the best results from Google Panda:

1. Content is still King!

Good quality, original content will yield the best results.  What you know about your business, industry or market is your most valuable asset.  Create good blog posts, web pages or articles using what you already know… just don’t make it into a sales pitch.  Just write about what you know and you will probably meet your visitor’s expectations.  A little controversy helps, too!

Focus on making your content:

  • Enlightening
  • Entertaining
  • Educational / informative

These are 3 key elements for good content.

2. Humans first and search engines second

If you or your SEO specialist is focused on keyword stuffing (I’m not talking about keyword targeting, but keyword stuffing, which is different) or any other gray or black hat techniques to “game” the search engines, knock it off.  Next algorithm change could destroy all your work.  Good content that is still keyword targeted, meant for humans, will give you the best results in the near and long term.

3. Check your old content

Do you have old, stale or out-dated content?  You may want to freshen it up.  I wouldn’t delete it since you may have links to the page, but add some updates.  If you have duplicate content, delete it or rewrite it.  Not sure if you have duplicate content?  http://www.copyscape.com/ is a good resource to check for duplicate content.

4. Social Media

Effective use of social media provides proof that people like your site and your content.  This is very powerful.  If you see and article that dozens of people “Like” with the Facebook thumbs up, you may want to take a look at it. Google notices too and indexes Facebook.  If you have not figured out how to use social media, now would be a good time to outsource that task to an experienced SEO firm.  In fact, you can give this article a “Thumbs Up” at the bottom if you like it, and I hope you do.

What is the verdict?

For news aggregators, affiliate marketers and others who use copied web pages, article directories and the like, it could be game over, or time for a change in strategy at least.  Google Panda is a friend to those of us creating quality content for our visitors.