Matt Cutts Announces Google Panda 4.0

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Matt Cutts Announces Google Panda 4.0

Despite stating in March 2013 that future Google Panda algorithm roll-outs and updates wouldn’t be announced, Google’s Head of Webspam Matt Cutts announced via his Twitter account that the company was starting to roll out its Google Panda 4.0 update, commencing today.

The ceasing of Google Panda announcements was due to Panda being integrated with the general Google search algorithm. Cutts announcing this roll-out indicates that it is going to be a major update for the Panda algorithm, rather than a simple data refresh or small algorithm tweak.

Search engine optimisation blogger Barry Schwartz, writing on Search Engine Land, stated that Google had told him Panda 4.0 will impact approximately 7.5% of search queries to a visible extent.

What is Google Panda?

Google Panda was initially rolled out in February 2011. The purpose of the Google Panda algorithm is to ensure that poor quality websites – particularly those with low quality or ‘thin’ content – don’t find their way into the upper echelons of the search rankings.

Such is the nature of the beast with search that the “punishment” element of Google Panda tends to be emphasised the most, but from the opposite perspective, it also means that sites with better quality are ultimately rewarded. Google Panda is a content-centric algorithm, which is why the phrase “content is king” has become increasingly repetitive in digital marketing circles in recent years. The bigger picture of Google Panda, beyond content, looks at your website as a whole from a user experience perspective. This means that Google will look at overall user metrics of your website, including statistics around the time users spend on your site and how engaging your pages are.

Google itself has provided numerous pieces of advice for webmasters around creating high quality websites, most famously this 23 bullet points post from May 2011, which has in the time since become the foundation of do it yourself quality checks for anyone looking to ensure they’re not hit by Google Panda updates.

Here at Bough Digital, we have written a number of blogs and informative resources relating to Google Panda updates and related topics, some of which are listed below.

What is Google Panda?

What do the Latest Google Algorithms Mean to the SEO Industry?
7 Popular SEO Myths You Need to Throw Away Immediately
Are the Recent Google Algorithms Killing Black Hat SEO Agencies?
Why do Some Low Quality Sites Still Achieve High Search Rankings?
What is Content Spam?

Google Panda: The Next Steps

If your website has been hit by this latest Google Panda update, your traffic from organic search will have taken a sizeable hit. However, being hit by Google Panda is not necessarily as disastrous as being hit by Google Penguin, which is Google’s algorithm that looks closer at links pointing at websites.

Embarking on a content marketing strategy will help you to regain your rankings over time, as Google will recognise your commitment to making your website more effective, user friendly, and high quality.

At the same time, you should probably look beyond content marketing in terms of blogs, resources, and other rich content sections. Even a lack of or thin content on your product or services pages can have a dramatic impact when a Google Panda update rolls around, especially if there are some basic pointers or easy wins that you could implement that would make a difference to the user experience.

If a Google Panda updates has a positive influence on your website, then great! You’ve obviously been committed to creating a high quality website and are now reaping the rewards, and should continue to keep populating your website with great content so that users continue to love your website.

If you require guidance around Google Panda, including a Google Panda audit or the planning and execution of a content marketing plan, contact Bough Digital now for a free quote for your website.