By now, everyone’s heard that Google began a slow roll out of a Google Panda update last week. This version is being dubbed “Panda 4.1” by Search Engine Land. This is because unlike Panda 4.0 this is not a major update like the previous one was. That still leaves the question though: how will this affect search?
According to Pierre Far of Google UK, only 3% – 5% of search results are actually affected by this roll out. Here’s a quick rundown of what you need to know:
- Update 4.1 has added more signals based on user and webmaster feedback that will help Google to identify low quality content.
- Panda has been targeting sites with redundant, irrelevant, and/or spammy content.
- Google believes that this update will allow high-quality small and medium sized sites to rank better.
- If you were penalized when 4.0 rolled out and you made changes to your content, then you may now be seeing better results. If you aren’t, then keep working on increasing the quality of your content.
- If you haven’t been penalized in the past, you may be now; check your analytics to see if there has been a drop in your traffic.
According to SearchMetrics’ Winners/Losers Report, sites that focus on news, content and download portals have seen increases as a result of the latest update. While sites that focus on games, lyrics and some medical portals have seen a drop in traffic. The difference between these sites is that the ones that have seen an increase in rankings produce their own content, while the content aggregation sites have taken a hit.
Panda updates about every 30 days or so; Google considers it a rolling update and they are no longer making big announcements every time they update the algorithm. With the year anniversary of the last Penguin update less than a week away many sites are holding out hope for the next update to come out soon. Penguin 3.0 is expected to be a major update that will be able to run more frequently, allowing sites affected to recover in shorter periods of time. This is very similar to how Panda runs now.
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