On July 18th, Google rolled out its most recent update to its algorithm – Panda 4.2. Google’s Panda update was first released in 2011 and it aimed to make rankings more relevant and accurate for the users.
The goal of this algorithm change is to make sure high quality websites are near the top of search results for all relevant keywords – Google wants to reward websites with original, relevant content.
The question many clients have been asking is, “How will this affect my website’s ranking on Google.” Currently, there is still not a lot of information about what is happening within the Panda 4.2 update and release, but some websites (including ours) are noticing that their rankings are now higher than before because of the recent change.
However, interestingly enough, until Google confirmed it, many people didn’t notice the change in algorithm at all. The change was so miniscule at the beginning of its roll-out date that even the most up-to-date web experts were taken by surprise until Google confirmed the 4.2 update. Nobody is entirely sure what the new reasoning behind the algorithm is, but approximately 2-3% of search queries have been affected. It’s a much slower roll out than what Google typically does, the last update had a definite change within the week. This one, according to Google, could take up to 10 months to see all the effects of the change.
The reasoning behind the slow rollout is difficult to discern at the moment. Some, however, suspect that Google may be working towards daily Panda updates and that the slow rollout of the Panda 4.2 algorithm is a test in order to achieve that goal. Google has, before, mentioned that they’re interested in daily Panda updates so this isn’t a wild guess. However, this is still a long dream even for Google based on the daily data processing and the speed of research Google would have to conduct in order to make sure the algorithm(s) are working appropriately.
This new Panda update’s slow rollout will make it more difficult to discern who the “winners and losers” are, at least at first – however, if you’re doing what Google likes then you shouldn’t have a problem. The panda update in general is specifically geared to reward sites that offer valuable unique content on a regular basis and discredit websites that don’t. Those that have unique content and are posting new content consistently have nothing to worry about.
It’s also important to note that the Panda algorithm affects the entire website, not just individual pages. So even if one page is “poor” in terms of quality and original content that can affect the ranking of the entire website, even if every other page is high quality original content.
The best thing someone can do, while the rollout is occurring, is to update their webpages. Make sure their content is well-written, high quality, relevant, and original. Avoid using “thin” content on your websites (an inadequate amount of content), duplicate content (exact content that is found on other websites), or machine-generated content (this if often referred to by marketers as “spun content”). If you’d like to hear Matt Cutts, head of Google’s spam team talk most about the panda update and its effects you can watch his video.
At digiTech Web Design, we help many of our clients update their websites in order to maintain or improve their rankings during Panda updates. No matter how you want to improve your website’s content, we can help. For more information on how we can help you with your digital marketing and web design needs, please contact us today!