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How Google’s Panda 4.0 May (or May Not) Affect You

We all know Google has openly said it would stop informing us about Panda updates, but the latest one is a little different. For those who aren’t tech heads, Panda updates generally happen at least once a month, but these are data refreshes. Usually, the changes that occur over refreshes are minimal and don’t affect overall rankings much, so there’s really no need for a major announcement.

Panda 4.0 is different. It’s suspected this is a change to the actual Google algorithm as opposed to a simple refresh, and there’s been adequate proof to support the theory:

  • 7.5% of English-language queries have been affected to the point where a casual user will notice the difference. Most of the time, the data-refresh Panda updates affect less than 1% of search queries.
  • Conversely, Google Panda 4.0 is a fantastic boon for several sites, including glassdoor.com, emedicinehealth.com, yourdictionary.com and shopstyle.com.

What Does This Mean For Me?

If you’re a small business, so far the results seem to either not affect you in the SERPs or will affect you positively. It’s likely the entirety of Panda 4.0 hasn’t been rolled out yet, so we’re still watching the rankings.

To prevent Panda from affecting you, it’s important to understand why EBay’s rankings tanked. In 2013 EBay did a study that claimed paid marketing (like AdWords) was not effective and they pulled their campaign.

Some experts said paid advertising wasn’t the problem; the problem was EBay’s chronic misuse of it. At any rate, EBay decided to go ahead and focus on SEO instead. This worked extremely well for EBay, until Panda 4.0 booted it well out of the ‘top 10’ list of websites with great presence. It’s now sitting around #25.

Why? EBay boosted its SEO rankings with doorway pages and very thin content. They also linked internally in a very aggressive manner using long-tail keywords in the footers of their pages, which would lead to more pages with little content.

This may look like a profit pushback from Google, but it’s worth noting that many commercial sites do have useful content, like Amazon’s customer reviews. EBay will need to get back on paid advertising while it sorts out its SEO nightmare.

Essentially, if your sites have good content, it’s likely Panda will not negatively affect you. We’re watching the SERPs with interest, and we wouldn’t be surprised if page authority soon becomes more important than domain!