Google Panda Update

The first Google’s Panda Update was introduced in February 2011. This is a search filter algorithm with the purpose to stop sites with poor quality content from achieving top ranking in Google’s search results. The Google Panda algorithm is updated from time-to-time in order to improve the search filter and catch websites that escaped before.

The last Panda update is called Panda 4.1 and was launched in October 2014. As usually, some websites were positively impacted by the Google update, while others were impacted negatively. Google’s Panda “4.1” Update is another iteration of the search engine’s algorithm aimed at low-quality web content. However, the new version strives to identify low quality content more precisely.

How Is Panda 4.1 Different?

As usually, Google is guarding closely its algorithmic secrets. However, from data analyses shared amongst the web marketing community and what Google representatives declared we know that:

  • The Google Panda Update targets duplicate content
  • Panda targets websites with poor content or a general lack of content
  • Panda targets spun content or machine-generated content

Google officials have also declared that in the future they will no longer announce Panda iterations and that at the moment Google team of developers is working on a “softer” version of Panda that would help small websites achieve better ranking in the Google search results.

Panda 4.1 Impact

Panda 4.1 had a strong impact on a number of affiliate websites that were not hit by previous versions. For instance, there were some affiliate sites with very thin content still ranking for competitive keywords. These websites were mostly landing pages that held just a small paragraph and listed affiliate links to other partner websites. These affiliate websites were now destroyed by the Panda 4.1 Update.

Other tactics that can trigger Panda 4.1 search filter include:

  • Affiliate sites without any useful content that act like gateways to others sites
  • “Content farms” sites that have a lot of how-to articles without depth
  • Sites that have a list of affiliate links first, before any content posted on the page
  • Doorway pages, keyword stuffing, security warnings, deceptive content, forced downloads, pop-up ads
  • Organic listings that features broken or blank pages

The Panda 4.1 Update had an impact as well on the local business websites that are poor in content. Another niche that was impacted was the broad informational website. Negatively impacted by the Google Panda Update 4.1 were websites that provide a lot of general information on a many diverse topics. Even well-known websites such as HowStuffWorks.com and Answers.com were negatively impacted by the last Panda update. It is true that with this type of website the quality of the content is not always uniform and the results may vary.

In addition, these broad informational websites need to compete against the niche content websites that often might answer better the search query. For this reason, some websites that focus on a certain topic, such as OrganicGardening.com, come out on top of search results. Google considers these sites specialized on a topic as providing a rich information experience for visitors and being authoritative for that subject matter.

It is certain that webmasters and website owners will have to adapt to the last Google Panda Update and modify accordingly their overall SEO strategy.