Google Releases New Panda 4.0 Algorithm Update

 Google Releases New Panda 4.0 Algorithm UpdateMatt Cutts recently announced on his Twitter feed that Google would be rolling out Panda 4.0. It’s however believed that Panda 4.0 was rolled out much earlier and it’s likely that it originally was released over the weekend or on the 19th according to many of the tools that I subscribe to. The latest update affects ~7.5% of English related queries, which is a noticeable change that even normal users of Google would likely notice.  Matt Cutts later retweeted an article on Search Engine Land that detailed Google were rolling out an updated Payday Loans Algorithm as well that would target “spammy search queries.”

A great resource that is useful if you’d like to see the timeline of Panda updates would be via Search Engine Roundtable, which lists all of the Panda related updates. Additionally, feel free to read this guest post written by Amy Harris in January this year called “6 SEO Trends for 2014 by Amy Harris“. It’s really relevant, as she talks about how you should be looking at your on-page content to see if there is actually enough content on the page – essentially showing Google that you are an authority on the subject you’re writing about.

What is Panda?

Panda mainly looks at content, whether that be duplicated content, thin content, or generally low quality content. It’s heavily content focused unlike its sister, Penguin, which looks specifically at the quality of backlinks going to a site. These are essentially variations of specific and big algorithms updates that Google rolls out every so often to keep SEOs, such as myself, on their toes.

What have I noticed?

The update definitely has focused on rich content. I’ve seen my almost 2,000 word article on what I think are the “Best SEO Tools” increase in rank by 4 positions – from 10th to 6th position. Although not scientifically proven to be Panda, I’ve not actually updated this site in a while and I haven’t made any recent on-site changes that would have affected rankings for that article for the keyword “best SEO tools” (720 searches per month on Google US and 210 searches per month on Google UK). The only thing I can put this down to is the Panda update.

Has eBay been penalised?

Also, from the looks of this eBay has also suffered as a result of this update. This story did make the rounds around my office today. Pete Meyers of wrote a brilliant analysis of this on the Moz blog. Further to this, Rishi Lakhani of RefuGeeks did some very interesting analysis behind why eBay may have been penalised. Could it have been site architecture? It’s looking like that may be the case. So, those that say that big sites don’t get penalised often enough – well, there’s your response to that!

Author: Jonathan Jones

I first first started creating websites back in 2005. This led me to creating a free web hosting business in 2007, which still exists today. I ventured into creating types of websites such as blogs and forums using Wordpress, vBulletin, Invision Power Board, Drupal and Joomla. I've since worked on some of the leading brands in the UK finance sector, in the Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) field, and now work for MoneySuperMarket, the #1 price comparison website in the UK. Social: Google+ and Twitter.

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  1. I don’t think that one big website, eBay, being hit with a Panda penalization demonstrates that they’re cracking down on big websites having an unfair SEO advantage. If there was evidence of, say, a dozen, that would be a trend lending to the truth. One is just an exception to the ‘big website’ ruling majority.

    • We saw quite a few big websites take a hit this year, Matthew! Halifax Bank being another example – I’m sure there are many more big websites that have taken a hit that we never hear about. But if you look in SearchMetrics, you’ll be able to identify a whole host of large websites that have taken a tumble for one reason or the other! 🙂

  2. The main reason behing google panda penalty is poor content, irrelevant content, duplicate content or poor content. To avoid google panda penalty follow these points:

    1. Go for high quality content which is relevant for your target audience

    2. Do not write for search engines, write for humans

    3. Avoid unnatural keyword stuffing

    4. Avoid using duplicate content, make sure you share unique content

    5. target long queries, to handle semantic search