Google Launches Panda 4.0
Early last week, Google launched two algorithm updates designed to improve the authenticity of its search engine results. Following the release of the Payday Loans 2.0 update on May 16th, Matt Cutts, Google’s head of web spam, announced via Twitter the launch of the latest update of the company’s Panda algorithm, Panda 4.0, which has already had a significant impact on a number of search queries.
First launched in 2011, Google’s Panda algorithm was designed to target websites featuring low-quality content in order to provide more authentic search results. According to Cutts, the latest version of the Panda algorithm will affect the results of approximately seven and a half percent of all search queries. This represents the largest Panda-related change since 2011 the algorithm’s initial launch in 2011.
Payday Loans 2.0
Released a couple of days prior to Panda 4.0, Google’s so-called Payday Loans 2.0 is an updated version of the Payday Loans algorithm that was first launched in 2013. Although targeting a much more specific selection of search queries than the Panda algorithm– according to Cutts, only two tenths of a percent of all English search results will be affected – the Payday Loan 2.0 update will affect sites that feature particularly “spammy” queries (such as “payday loans”).
Who has been affected?
According to Searchmetrics, there have already been a significant number of sites affected by Panda 4.0 and/or Payday Loans 2.0, with thin content sites, aggregator sites, and sites targeting traditionally “spammy” segments of the search market the hardest hit. Ebay is the most notable company to have been negatively impacted, with 80% of the website’s organic search listings disappearing from search engine results, while other big names such as Ask.com, DealCentral, and SimplyRecipes also suffered.
However, there have also been many sites that have benefited from the updates, such as MyRecipes and Buzzfeed, demonstrating that good quality content is rewarded as much as poor quality content is punished.
Although it is still too early to make an accurate analysis of the full effects of the updates, it is clear that a large number of aggregators featuring little original content and information collected from external sources – for example coupon sites, celebrity gossips sites, software download sites and comparison sites – have been most affected by the updates.
Soon after announcing the launch of the Panda 4.0, Google’s Matt Cutts stated that the update is more “soft and gentle” than previous instalments, suggesting that it will serve as a foundation for future adjustments to the algorithm. However, with over 7.5% of English language websites affected, it is clear that regardless of how “soft and gentle” the update actually was, high-quality, originally sourced content is more important as ever.Google Launches Panda 4.0