Search engine giant, Google, have recently announced two updates this week – the Panda 4.0 update and the Payday Loan 2.0. So, what exactly does this mean for businesses? Should you be worried? Well, lets find out shall we.
To begin, we’ll explain what the Panda 4.0 update is, what websites should be worried, how to spot if you’ve been hit and what to do if you have been hit. Following that, we’ll focus on the new Payday Loan 2.0 update.
When Was The Panda 4.0 Update Announced?
Matt Cutts, Head of Google’s Webspam Team, announced in the early hours of yesterday morning (21st May 2014) that Google were rolling out a new algorithm update – the 4.0 Panda update. Needless to say, this is big news in the SEO industry. So what exactly is Panda 4.0?
Google is rolling out our Panda 4.0 update starting today.
— Matt Cutts (@mattcutts) May 20, 2014
What is the Panda 4.0 Update?
To answer this, we need to start at the beginning. The Panda 4.0 Update is one in a long string of algorithmic updates which Google launched in order to make the search results more specific and relevant – thus providing the end user with exactly what they want.
The Panda algorithm update is renowned for targeting on websites which have;
- Thin or low-quality content
- Duplicate content
- Excessive number of ads above the fold
With this said, this update can be a good for websites which have lots of unique content on their website which adds value to the users experience. If however you have little to no content on your website, you have duplicate content across your website or across the web then you might see a sudden drop in traffic if you’re hit. Below is a list of previous Panda updates.
List of Panda Updates
|Panda update||Date of Release|
|Panda 4.0||20th May 2014|
|Panda #25||15th March, 2013|
|Panda #24||22nd January, 2013|
|Panda #23||21st December, 2012|
|Panda #22||21st November, 2012|
|Panda #21||5th November, 2012|
|Panda #20||27th September, 2012|
|Panda 3.9.2||18th September, 2012|
|Panda 3.9.1||20th August, 2012|
|Panda 3.9||24th July, 2012|
|Panda 3.8||25th June, 2012|
|Panda 3.7||9th June, 2012|
|Panda 3.6||27th April, 2012|
|Panda 3.5||19th April, 2012|
|Panda 3.4||23rd March, 2012|
|Panda 3.3||26th February, 2012|
|Panda 3.2||15th January, 2012|
|Panda 3.1||18th November, 2011|
|Panda 2.5.3||19th / 20th October, 2011|
|Panda 2.5.2||13th October, 2011|
|Panda 2.5.1||9th October, 2011|
|Panda 2.5||28th September, 2011|
|Panda 2.4||August, 2011|
|Panda 2.3||22nd July, 2011|
|Panda 2.2||18th June, 2011 or so|
|Panda 2.1||9th May, 2011|
|Panda 2.0||11th April, 2011or so|
|Panda 1.0||24th February, 2011|
3 Easy Ways To Spot if You’ve Been Hit By Panda 4.0
If you’re worried that you might be hit by this particular update here is some advice on how to spot it quickly. But remember, if you think you might get penalised by this particular update, don’t wait until you’ve been hit to do something about the poor quality content on your website. Be proactive.
One: Check Organic Traffic in Google Analytics
One of the best ways to check if you’ve been hit by the latest Panda update is to keep an eye on your organic traffic. If it drops suddenly without explanation then you could have been hit. Matt Cutts said they were rolling out the update, which means that you could be hit at any time.
Two: Check Your Ranking Positions
Some fluctuation in keyword positions is completely normal, however if they drop by a large proportion and you notice a drop in organic traffic, then you could have been hit by the new update. One of the best ways to track this is to make a spread sheet and monitor it.
Three: Check Panguin
Panguin is a nifty tool which pinpoints algorithm updates alongside drops in your organic traffic – so you can see when an update occurred and if this correlates with a drop in organic traffic. However, be careful with this tool, as it can be easy to think that you have been hit when in fact you haven’t.
What To Do If You’ve Been Hit by Panda 4.0
If you have been hit by the latest panda 4.0 update then it’s time to assess your website and ask yourself how you can improve the content and the user-experience. Here are a few things you can check:
- Check for duplicate content
- Check for pages with no content or thin content
- Check for pages with no meta descriptions
- Check the quality of the content on the website
- Ask how you can improve the user experience of your website and how you can build the trust-factor of your website
Top Tip: Remember – even if the content on your website is great, there is always room for improvement. To find pages which need improving, log in to your Google analytics account, look at the top landing pages and focus on those with have a high bounce rate and ask yourself – how can I reduce the bounce rate and improve the user experience of this particular page?
Now, let’s talk about the new Payday Loan 2.0 Update.
What is the New Payday Loan 2.0 Update?
Announced shortly after the Panda 4.0 update, the new Payday Loan 2.0 update is a new algorithm update which is set to target spammy queries which are associated with prolific web spam tactics. These tactics are often employed by those in the payday loan, insurance and accident claim industry – hence its name.
Who Should be Worried?
Specific industries utilise a lot of spam tactics in order to gain top position in the SERPs and it those within these industries which are likely to be the main focus of this particular algorithm update. This is normally associated with those within the payday loan, adult themed industries. If you do work in this type of industry, then keep a close eye on your organic traffic and ranking positions.
This update is slightly smaller than the Panda 4.0 and it has been suggested that only 0.2% of English queries will be affected, so it shouldn’t affect too many websites.
To check if you’ve been hit by the new Payday loan 2.0 update then you can follow the same steps which were outlined for the Panda 4.0 update.