Last week saw Google’s 27th Panda algorithm update come into action. The aim of this latest 4.1 update is to prevent poor content from ranking well within Google’s organic search listings and is designed to help small and medium sized sites that are complying with the search engine’s content guidelines to achieve more exposure.
What has Google had to say?
Google bases its ranking decisions on the signals that it receives. Ultimately, it wants to find sites with unique, fresh and up-to-date content that is beneficial to the user.
When asked to comment on the latest Panda update, Google stated the following in a Google+ post:
“Based on user and webmaster feedback, we’ve been able to discover a few more signals to help Panda identify low-quality content more precisely. A slow rollout began earlier this week and will continue into next week, before being complete. Depending on location, about 3%-to-5% of search queries will be affected.”
Who will be affected?
Reports from the SearchMetrics List of Winners and Losers have shown that gaming, music and medical sites in particular have suffered organic ranking and traffic losses, while many news and content sites have actually benefited from the update.
Panda 4.1 is good news for many of those who found they were penalised by the last Panda shift and took steps to amend their site. Once the update has come into full effect, webmasters will find out whether or not they’ve done enough to improve their search presence or whether they’ve still got some work to do.
New updates such as this are not welcomed by everyone, though. New sites or sites that have not yet been hit by past updates could be affected – if you notice lower ranking positions or a significant drop in traffic to your site or lower ranking positions, it could be down to Panda.
What to do if you are hit?
The best steps to take if you find that your site has been affected would be to add depth to any ‘thin’ content. Make sure it brings something of value to the reader and be sure to revise and refresh old content that’s been sitting on your site for a while.
Remember, if you don’t do anything about your site’s penalisation, it will only get worse. Ensure you set aside the time to work at getting your site back up to Google’s own stringent standards so that your site is boosted by the next update, not struck down by it!