The hottest topic among SEO folks this week was the latest Panda update.
To recap, Panda is all about content. First rolled out in 2011, it’s an update that punishes ‘thin’, low quality and duplicate content.
Google is rolling out our Panda 4.0 update starting today.
— Matt Cutts (@mattcutts) May 20, 2014
As soon as Matt Cutts, head of webspam team at Google, confirmed that Panda 4.0 has rolled out, the analysis came fast and furiously. Here are 7 articles that help explain what Panda 4.0 is all about.
1. What every business needs to know about Google’s Panda 4.0 update
Michael Motherwell gives a nice overview (without much jargon) of Panda 4.0. “The goal of Google Panda updates is to get rid of weak content sites,” he shares. “Sites with ‘thin’ content, pages without a lot of unique and original information, usually disappear, while sites with detailed and in-depth content are rewarded.
If you’re wondering if your site has been affected, here’s the answer: “Sites with large amounts of shallow content, pages that don’t have much unique or interesting content on then, and sites with an overload of advertising are the most common sites to report a drop.”
2. Google’s latest search update is a reminder to focus on quality
On Entrepreneur, Jonathan Long answers common questions about Panda 4.0 and offers advice for those who are affected.
“If your search-engine optimization provider was using cheap, outsourced content on your website and you were hit by Panda, then it is time for a content audit,” he says. “It is possible to recover from a Google Panda penalty by rewriting content and adding new high-quality content to your website, although it isn’t an overnight process and it can be quite time consuming and costly.”
P.S. It’s never too late to focus on quality. “If you have been using lower quality content on your site and snuck by without being hit by Panda 4.0 then consider yourself lucky and take a step back to evaluate your content strategy.”
3. On Syndication, user engagement, indexation & keyword hoarding
On Search Engine Watch, Glenn Gabe shares his findings on how Panda 4.0 is affecting some of his clients. His top findings include:
- Syndication is bad, unless you’re set for it technically: “When reviewing the syndicated content on the sites in question, none of them had the optimal technical setup,” he writes. “For example, using rel=canonical to point to the original content on another domain (via the cross-domain canonical tag). Some content had links back to the original content on third-party websites, while other pieces of content did not.”
- Strong engagement is good SEO: “I saw poor user engagement (and bad user experience) get sites in trouble Panda-wise. As more and more companies reached out to me about fresh Panda 4.0 hits, I could clearly identify serious engagement issues once I dug in.”
- Keyword hoarding is a terrible idea: Sharing a case study, Glenn says, “The content on the site is definitely high quality, but there’s no way the homepage should have ranked for all of those keywords, especially when there were articles and posts on other websites specifically targeting torso and longer-tail terms. The site had been teed up to get smoked by Panda. And it finally did.”
4. Panda 4.0, Payday Loan 2.0 & eBay’s Very Bad Day
Dr. Peter J. Meyers reveals that Panda 4.0 resulted to eBay dropping out of the Big 10, Moz’s metric of the ten domains with the most “real estate” in the top 10. The drop was significantl—from #6 to #25. No conclusion was offered (“I’m sorry to say that it’s probably too soon to tell”), but the data in the post is interesting.
5. Deconstructing eBay.com’s Organic Loss Using SEMrush
Rishi Lakhani offers a detailed but somewhat technical hypothesis on why eBay was hit hard by Panda 4.0. It seems that all pages with “bhp” in the title are now being filtered out of Google searches. The conclusion seems to be that this is a manual Google update.
6. Google Panda 4.0’s biggest losers and winners
Business Insider lists which web brands got pinged by Panda 4.0—and which ones benefited. While eBay is getting the most attention, it’s actually ask.com who’s been hit the hardest. Glassdoor, emedicinehealth.com and medterms.com are among the winners.
“Publishers of original, interesting content have nothing to fear,” the article concludes.
7. How Marketers Can Brace for Google Panda 4.0 Update
Seth Besmertnik, CEO and co-founder of web presence management provider Conductor, chats with CMSWire about the history of Google’s Panda updates. He calls the latest update an opportunity.
“Panda is all about filtering out bad content that is spammy, aggregated or not useful,” he says. “You must make great content as Google has said for years.”
What do you think of Google’s latest algorithm update?