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The SEO Impact of Panda 4.0

In Google’s continuous effort to clean up the quality of their search results, they introduced a significant algorithm change in 2011 which became known as the ‘Panda’ update. At the end of May this year, another notable change to the settings was announced, called Panda 4.0, which is thought to affect around 7.5% of English-language search queries. The aim of this new update is to remove or reduce the rankings of sites that contain poor, duplicated or irrelevant content, but there should have been no impact on well written and optimised sites.

Panda 4.0 was the first update to the Panda algorithm in over a year and seems to focus on penalising duplicate content sites, ensuring authoritative sites with original content continue to rank well. Websites that have been the victim of copyright theft and have had valuable original content stolen are now seeing a return in traffic. Websites that have blatantly plagiarised original content from other websites are now receiving penalties and reduced ranking positions. These latest Panda updates – the details of which are always kept confidential by Google – are once again increasing search result quality, ensuring that users are directed to websites with the best quality content.

It appears that certain search queries and niches have been hit hard by the latest update, with terms such as ‘pay day loans’ seeing major changes in search results due to harsh penalties handed out to poor content websites that were previously ranking well. In contrast, the initial findings across leading digital communities has been an increase in traffic for authoritative websites, which are well recognised for producing valuable original content. Some large sites with substantial link building strengths and resources but offering little value in content have also been hit hard – it’s been reported that Ebay has seen substantial drops in rankings for major queries, which may or may not be the correct way that Google intends the ranking to work, but there is likely to be an ‘adjustment’ period with further revisions after this main update.

Hopefully your website has not been affected by these latest changes, but if you’d like to know more about the Panda 4.0 algorithm change and it’s impact on the search results, please contact us for details.