Google Panda Algorithm 4.0 Rolls Out

The rollout of Google Panda 4.0 is the latest major development in the world of SEO. Actually, it is one of two major updates that were released by Google within the last week. The other one is the Spam Algorithm update, also known as the Payday Loan Algorithm.

When Panda 1.0 was first introduced in 2011, it impacted many websites affecting nearly 12% of English search queries in the US. The purpose of the Panda Algorithm is to filter out pages and sites that had spammy, low quality, and thin content. This new update is a big deal because it seems to be an overhaul of the groundwork for Panda, meaning it essentially replaces the old Panda with an algorithm that is supposed to be “softer” and “gentler.” All the Panda updates in between were primarily minor updates and refreshes to the existing algorithm. Panda 4.0 roughly affects about 7.5% of English queries.

How will Panda 4.0 affect smaller sites?

It is still somewhat vague what “softer” or “gentler” means, but I would assume that it is good news for smaller site owners. Why? Well, with Panda not being as aggressive, I would think that smaller sites with good content stand a better chance at competing on a playing field that has largely been in favor of bigger brands.

How will Panda 4.0 affect bigger sites?

I think for the most part, the bigger sites will still continue to dominate the search results, but they may lose some of their long-tail traffic to smaller sites that are producing good quality content. There is already news that major sites like eBay and RetailMeNot has seen big drops in their rankings.

How will Panda 4.0 affect spammy sites?

Panda 1.0 did a lot of damage to spammy sites and has done a good job of keeping them out of the search results. With Panda 4.0, I believe the spammy sites that are borderline may rank for some long-tail queries, but I wouldn’t worry about them showing up in generic keyword searches.

I think Panda 4.0 was a good move on the part of Google because it lessens collateral damage on many smaller sites that have good quality content, while largely keeping the spammy sites filtered out of the search results.

Some site owners have already reported to seeing an improvement in their traffic levels since the update began rolling out. Has your traffic or organic rankings been affected by Panda?

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