On Tuesday, Matt Cutts, head of Google’s webspam team, announced via Twitter that Google was pushing out their updated Panda Algorithm, code-named Panda 4.0.
Google is rolling out our Panda 4.0 update starting today.
— Matt Cutts (@mattcutts) May 20, 2014
It’s a statement to strike fear into the heart of anyone who relies on organic visits from Google for their business.
And, it’s no surprise that marketers and retailers are concerned, given the impact some sites have experienced in just three days of the Panda rampage. Searchmetrics shared their Winners and Losers list showing significant ranking drops from major retailers like eBay, Retailmenot and Payday Loans.
It’s not bad news for everyone — and in fact, good news for most online businesses that feature original content. The Panda algorithm was designed to remove low-quality content from Google’s search results. If a site contains a lot of duplicate content (like eBay’s auctions), it makes sense that it would drop in the rankings.
SEO expert Jenny Munn shares some sound advice,
“My best piece of insight I can impart regarding Panda 4.0 is that it’s another step Google is taking to continue rewarding the sites it deems to be the most valuable to users. That is, sites that add valuable, interesting, engaging, helpful content to their target market – consistently. By no means does that mean businesses need to start blogging 5 times a week, but they do need to have a strategic plan.
Your site needs content, and specifically, text…if your site is weak on this (substantial, engaging, unique content) – and being found on Google is a priority – then you have to bake this into your marketing mix from here on out. This is not just good for Google, but good for your overall site and the market you serve.”
So, is this the kinder gentler Panda Matt promised or does it have claws? Time will tell.