If you can hear a distant gnashing of teeth then it is because another Google Panda update has hit hard on some sites. However, if you can hear another sound it could well be the rejoicing going on by people whose sites have benefitted from Google Panda 4.
Panda 4 was rolled out on the 20th of May and like all Google updates there are both winners and losers. So how do you make sure that you are on the right side of that divide?
The Aim of Panda 4
The first thing we need to consider is what the aim of this update to the Google algorithm was all about in the first place. Matt Cutts is the head of web spam at Google and he has stated that the aim of this version of Panda is to give smaller businesses with well put together sites a better chance against the giant companies out there. As the name suggests, this is the fourth version of the Panda algorithm, the overall goal of which is to stop poor quality sites filled with spam from ranking well on the search engine results page. Generally speaking, Panda punishes spammy site with poor content and rewards good quality sites. This fourth version carries on in a similar vein to the previous releases.
The Effects So Far
The fact that the Panda 4 release happened almost simultaneously with the Google Payday Loans 2.0 update has made it difficult to see exactly what changes the new Panda has brought. However, one of the notable changes that has grabbed a lot of attention is the fact that eBay has lost ground on a lot of high ranked keywords. Other big name sites which are believed to have lost out with this release are Ask.com and History.com. Of course, when one site another benefits so other sites have gained ground on these phrases. Some SEO experts have been very vocal in proclaiming how well their sites have done following this update, while the big winners to have been uncovered so far include the likes of Glassdoor.com, Medterms.com and Yourdictionary.com. No doubt most site owners will have worked through their keyword analysis by now and figured out whether Panda 4 has been a good or bad thing for them.
What to Do Now
Google’s stated aims for Panda and the results seen so far mean that we can work out a few simple tips for avoiding falling foul of this algorithm. The first step is to include only quality, original content on the site. Ideally this will be new, interesting content that engages readers and encourages others to link to it. Updating the content regularly is also a very good idea. Another sensible thing to do is to include quality backlinks to authoritative sites. The site should also be checked out to ensure that it is technically well put together, with no technical problems on it.
What Not to Do
One thing that we know definitely needs to be avoided is adding links to the site on poor quality websites. What is to be especially avoided is the situation in which one of the site’s key phrases is used as an exact match in the anchor text on a low quality site. This is something which can be heavily punished by Google now.
What Comes Next?
This is already the fourth Panda update from Google since they started back in February of 2011. It seems safe to assume that there will be more versions of it coming along before too long. This means that even if you weren’t punished by Panda 4 you can’t afford to rest on your laurels.
Have you lost rankings or traffic since the latest Google Panda Update? Speak to one of our consultants today for a free analysis