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Inbound Marketing Blog

    Google Rolls Out Major Panda 4.0 SEO Update

    Posted by Katie Redmond

    Major Search Engine Update from Google Released on 4.20.14


    As of last night (5.20.14) Google has confirmed via Matt Cutt’s Twitter account that they have rolled out their latest algorithm update, Panda 4.0.  This puts an end to a large amount of speculation in the SEO community over the last couple of weeks and confirms Barry Scwartz’s theory that Google has been tinkering with their search engine algorithm lately.

    Below is Matt Cutts tweet confirming the update at 6:11pm last night.  Matt is the head of the Google Web Spam Team that manages the search engine algorithm.

    Google confirms Panda 4.0 SEO Update

    It is too early to tell how the Panda Update is going affect your sites rankings, as there are always winners and losers with each update. Since the start of May we have already seen some sites gain in organic traffic and some lose organic traffic.

    A good example of a major site that has been impacted negatively is eBay.  Here is an excerpt from a blog this morning posted on Moz.com by Dr. Peter J. Meyers about how eBay has lost a significant percentage of the Top 10 Rankings.

    eBay hit hard by Panda update

    In this example, you can see that eBay's main sub-domain (www.eBay.com) dropped from #6 all the way to #25 in Moz's "Big 10" domain rankings.  This is a very significant and quick drop, especially for a company of eBay’s size and scope.


    Panda Who?

    Panda was designed to deal with and eliminate any value of:

    • dupliciate content
    • short content pieces

    This means there are a few things to focus on to make sure your content stays Panda-friendly.

    • Avoid duplicate content within your site and stay away from copying other people content.
    • Focus on creating your own unique, high quality content. I cannot express this enough. Take the time to write thought provoking and interesting articles that people would enjoy reading. Try to keep your articles to at least 600 words minimum! As well as always be sure to use videos and images where applicable.
    • Make sure all of your pages have unique title tags and meta descriptions. If there are duplicates please rewrite each individual one.


    What does this mean for you?

    Panda 4.0 was official released May 20th. It is designed to push down thin or low-quality content sites in the search results. It is still too early to see what is happening. Based on the data that is coming out at this point, Panda 4.0 looks to be a major algorithm update and NOT a simple data refresh.

    This means Google has made significant changes to how it identifies sites.  If you do not have an SEO agency to audit your site and content, you should. Your web site rankings could dramatically decrease if you're not careful!

    Clearly, Panda 4.0 is major update to the Google algorithm and is not a much smaller data update.  Google has implemented 24 data updates since Panda was launched on February 24, 2011.

    As with all major updates it takes some time to flush out what exactly is going to be impacted both negatively and positively as the algorithm is very volatile right now and should stabilize in the coming weeks so you can identify baselines and trends to correct.

    Below is a sample of the SERP Volatility over the last 30-days.

    Google SERP Volatility over the last 30 days

    So, stay patient, but be sure you are keeping a very close eye on your analytics starting at the beginning of May to see how your site is being impacted by the update.  If you don’t use Google Analytics, Moz, gShift Labs, or a platform to track your analytics I would strongly suggest that you implement immediately, contact an SEO for some help, or download the free eBook below.

    As more information tools out and testing is completed we will keep you updated.

    We would love to here from you about Panda 4.0 in the comments below.  Have you seen wins or losses yet?


    Topics: SEO