Google rolls out Panda 4.0 announced Google’s Matt Cutts through a tweet. Speculations are rife as to why Google has chosen to announce this update as it has consistently been updating the algorithm with no announcements whatsoever. So it is widely believed to be a major update for Google to speak out about it. It may be a major upheaval than the routine data refreshes.
What will happen now? Now anxiety prevails as to whom this Panda tornado will take in its wake. Which sites will get its due acknowledgement and which will bite the dust? Whose turn is it this time to be guillotined? Which websites will reign supreme and which will have to rework on their strategies yet again?
Some advice: But the advice here would be to not panic and stay calm. But at the same time do not throw caution to the winds. Be alert and periodically conduct analysis of your site to check if it is being impacted in any way by the Panda update.
Flashback: To rewind a bit…Google Panda when it was first launched in Feb 2011 stressed on the importance of content. Sites that had overlooked the quality of their content and were busy just running behind numbers, were severely penalized. Sites with large amounts of advertising fell rapidly and sites which provided news value to its readers surged ahead in their ranking. Low quality sites which were occupying the top positions through malpractices got wiped out and sites with real quality content found recognition.
Some tips: This time around, the stress again is on excellent content. The message is loud and clear.
• Avoid duplicate content like plague and develop unique and read-worthy content of your own.
• Remember that you are writing not for search engine machines but for living, breathing human beings.
• So your content should inform, entertain, or educate them. In short, your writing needs to make a difference to the reader; they should get some value from it.
• Do not just dish out crappy, keyword crammed content with which you intend to woo the search engines. On the other hand, an impressed reader-following will automatically bring the search engines to you. So that should be your sole motive.
• Supplement your content with relevant images and videos wherever necessary.
Who won and who lost? The axe of Google Panda according to Searchmetrics’ initial analysis has fallen majorly on eBay, and ask.com with both falling down considerably. Some of the other sites which bore the brunt include retailmenot.com, examiner.com, health.com, yellowpages.com and biography.com among others. For eBay the drop has been drastic- from 6th position now to 25th position. (Moz data) Where exactly they goofed up is a case to be studied later. But main cause is said to be and evidently it is- thin content.
With every major algorithm rolled out by Google there have been losers and winners. The top winners this time over are the job portal glassdoor.com, and informative sites like emedicinehealth.com and medterms.com. Among other frontrunners are zimbio.com, myrecipes.com, onhealth.com and others.
Lessons to learn: The lesson to be learnt is the same as in case of any Google algorithmic update-
• Keep creating well-written and quality content.(Cannot seem to harp enough on it!)
• Do not adopt any blackhat techniques and try to achieve success the easy way.
• Do not let advertisements overshadow the content on your site.
• Keep working on the social media front.
What next? Post the introduction of Google Panda algorithm there have been several updates to it but those were integrated into the algorithm. That is why with Google choosing to announce this update, it is being speculated that this may be a major update.
Any major Google algorithm has brought about lot of upheaval. So what Google Panda 4.0 will cause cannot be predicted so soon. Even the list of winners and losers may change. Once the uproar settles down, and things stabilize a bit, analysis and study will show the actual result of the update.
What other changes have been made to the algorithm or what changes it will cause is for us to wait and watch. Meanwhile just keep working on the content of your site and provide worthy material to your readers. Only that can help you withstand this Panda update and subsequent ones to come and not succumb to it.