It has been 4 months since Google released Panda 4.0 and now we have an update to the algorithm – 4.1.
Google announced it was being rolled out on the 28th September and is expected to affect 3%-5% of search queries, which in SEO terms is significant.
What is Panda?
For those of you playing at home, Panda is an algorithm, created by Google that penalises websites with poor content from ranking well. It was first released way back in February 2011 and has been continually updated ever since, helping high quality sites get closer to the top of the search results, which is good for you, the user.
What happened in 4.1?
So, what is so different about 4.1? When Google announced the rollout, they also gave us some insight into the new iteration of Panda. Apparently, Google have (without the help of user and webmaster feedback) discovered new signals to detect low-quality content on websites.
That is nothing entirely new in terms of Panda. What is different is the fact that “this results in a greater diversity of high-quality small and medium-sized sites ranking higher.” High quality small websites are likely to get a boost in rankings, which is fantastic news if you are a small business owner.
The Winners and Losers
To reiterate, 4.1 is not a wide departure from previous updates – it is just more precise. The big losers were sites that do not provide relevant and unique content. Sites that gather content from multiple sources to reuse or sell were hit hard, as they were in Panda 4.0, while websites that focused on providing relevant and useful content came out winners.
The most positive aspect of 4.1, in my opinion, is that it benefited small to medium websites (providing they did not have ‘thin’ or duplicate content). This helps the smaller businesses compete against giants. Nice job, Google.
Are you at risk?
If this blog has made the hairs on the back of your neck stand up, you probably realise that your website has low quality content. If you have not been hit by Panda before, you are a risk with 4.1, because it is seeking out culprits that have gone undetected. Keep a look out at your traffic over the next couple of weeks. If it drops suddenly, Panda will most likely be the cause.
If you were penalised by Panda when 4.0 was released, you had a change to claw your way back in the rankings if you made the right changes. Everyone loves a redemption story, right? You should know if your previous alterations were good enough for Panda.
There is more to SEO than keywords and links. If the updates to the algorithm have taught me one thing, it is that Google heavily focused on high quality content. Content is not only king, it is also a sound SEO practice.
If you have a website, make sure strong and relevant content is a primarily focus – it will help you attract more traffic. If you are a small business owner and need help with the content of your website, contact the team at Titan Digital and one of our experts can make an assessment for you.