Google Launches Panda 4.0
It’s official. Panda 4.0 has officially hit the Google search results.
The Panda algorithm, which was designed to help boost great-quality content sites while pushing down thin or low-quality content sites in thesearch results, has always targeted scraper sites and low-quality content sites in order to provide searchers with the best search results possible.
Panda 4.0, which Google and Matt Cutts confirmed began rolling out yesterday, has definitely caused some waves in the search results. However, the fact that Panda 4.0 is also hitting at the same time as a refresh of an algorithm targeting spammy queries like payday loans makes it a little bit more difficult for webmasters to sort through the damage.
With the payday loans refresh impacting extremely spammy queries and Panda targeting low-quality content, some webmasters could potentially get hit with both of these or by just one or the other.
While usually people complain about losing rankings, Alan Bleiweiss from AlanBleiweiss.com showed via Twitter that Panda can also bring about some serious improvement to a site’s traffic as well.
Prior to Cutts confirming via Twitter that Panda 4.0 hit, there had been plenty of speculation about a change with either Panda or Penguin, although many found it hard to pin down exactly what the change was.
“It was interesting to see the chatter amongst SEOs over the last few days,” says Marie Haynes of HIS Web Marketing. “We all knew that something was going on, but there was significant disagreement on exactly what Google was doing. Most of the black hats were saying that it was related to Penguin because they were noticing huge drops in their sites with the spammiest link profiles.”
This would have been the changes to the payday loans update, where the goal is to target the spammiest search queries Google sees. There was also plenty of debate on forums and Twitter about whether the shake-up we saw was Panda-related or Penguin-related. And with the payday loans update thrown in there for good measure, it was definitely confusing.
“I was really hoping that this wasn’t a Penguin refresh because the majority of the sites that I had done link cleanup on were not seeing any improvement and if Penguin refreshed and none of my clients were seeing ranking increases, then that would not be good,” Haynes says. “I was also puzzled because one site that I monitor that has been adversely affected by several Panda updates saw a vast improvement today. It does not have a bad link profile and would not have been affected by a Penguin update. ”
“When I heard the announcements that Google had released two algorithms over the last couple of days – payday loans and also a big Panda update, everything made sense. And still, so many of us are waiting for that big Penguin refresh. It wouldn’t surprise me if that happens in the next couple of days,” she says.
Google has said previously that they try not to throw multiple updates at once or within a very short period of time, so it is interesting that they pushed out two completely unrelated updates – although updates that could both impact some the same sites – within a couple of days