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Panda 4.1: Is Your Website Affected?

Ranked 27th in a long line of updates, Panda 4.1 rolled out at the end of September, inciting fear in some SEOs and inspiring praise from others. Affecting 3-5% of search engine queries, Google slowly rolled out Panda 4.1 over a period of weeks. Though some webmasters are picking up the broken pieces of their SEO strategy, small and medium-sized websites stocked with useful content are beginning to receive well-deserved visibility.

Panda 4.1 Hits Aggregators Hard

Sites most affected by Panda 4.1 have one thing in common: thin, useless content. After experiencing a drop in search engine traffic – some by nearly 80% – webmasters are reevaluating their site’s structure, SEO strategy, and content. Thus far, the following websites are topping Searchmetrics’ list of the Panda 4.1 losers:

  • Yellow.com. With a 79% decrease in search engine traffic, Yellow.com is the hardest hit of all websites since the update’s rollout.
  • Office365.com. Microsoft’s brands are no exception to the rule, as Panda 4.1 knocked search engine visibility down by 70%.
  • Hallmark.com. The greeting card mogul is not exempt from Panda’s wrath. Since the update’s release, Hallmark.com has experienced a significant decline in search engine visibility of nearly 30%.

While Panda 4.1 is discouraging to many SEOs, smaller websites with compelling content are finally experiencing web stardom.

Good News for the Little Guys

Niche bloggers, content rich business websites, and info-packed domains are the recipients of Panda 4.1’s mercy. Of the sites benefitting from Google’s recent Panda update, the following are notable:

  • Hongkiat.com Well-known by techies and web designers, hongkiat.com provides unique content on a daily basis. The site’s editorial guidelines are strict, which ensures only high quality content is published. As a result, hongkiat.com’s search engine visibility has increased by over 400%.
  • Ivillage.com. Answering questions important to women everywhere, ivillage.com offers fresh, relevant content updated continuously. Because of the site’s diverse content, Panda 4.1 led to a 214% jump in search engine visibility.
  • Livescience.com. Of sites receiving the largest spike in search engine visibility, Livescience.com aims to educate the public on a variety of scientific issues, from psychology to space travel. Thanks to its repository of helpful content, Livescience.com’s visibility jumped by over 100%.

What’s Next after Panda 4.1?

If the last 26 updates to Panda weren’t enough to inspire a shift to useful, plentiful content, Panda 4.1 – and the plummeting search engine visibility that followed – is inspiring webmasters to rethink site structure, subject matter, and content relevance in an effort to preserve online visibility.

Has your business been negatively affected by Panda 4.1?