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Dissecting Panda 4.0 and its Aftermath

Nearly a month has passed since Google’s release of Panda 4.0 and it’s time to evaluate its impact on search results. As first reported by Google’s very own Matt Cutts, Panda 4.0 officially began rolling out on May 20, 2014.

Before we dive in let’s remember that the Panda algorithm targets sites that rank with low quality content and rewards those that deliver content that is original, useful and informative to the searcher. Since the release of 4.0 we’ve noticed a lot of fluctuation in rankings.

What You Need to Know
Google was supposed to stop announcing refreshes to the Panda algorithm since they were rolling out on a monthly basis, but 4.0 was a big enough update to require Google’s acknowledgement. According to Google the update affected different languages differently, but for English the impact was 7.5% of search queries.

Back in March Google hinted at the possible release of a “softer Panda” update and it appears 4.0 is living up to that expectation. Many sites that have been hit by previous Panda updates have recovered, but at the same time 4.0 also crushed a lot of sites.

The strategy of producing original quality content still remains true. There must be a focus on content that provides value to the searcher. Do your best to eliminate thin and duplicate content and consolidate pages when possible. In addition it is vital to ensure your site is user-friendly, mobile-friendly, and free of any low quality backlinks. The auditing process should remain ongoing.