Google roll out Panda 4.1

Google Panda

Google announced on the 27th September that the next updated Panda was being rolled out. Although this is the 27th update, it is known as Panda 4.1. On a Google+ post, Google announced that they started a “slow rollout” early last week and expect to have everything done by this week. They have also speculated that depending on location it could affect between 3-5% of search queries.

What is the Panda update and how is one different?

The Panda update is a search filter that was first released back in February 2011 to deal with poor quality content. Google works hard to ensure those websites that appear in the search results and especially on page 1 had good quality content that is well written and useful to the search query.

With that in mind, you might be wondering how and why Google needs to keep updating it and what makes this update different from Panda 4.0? Google has said that with the help of feedback from users and Webmasters, they have been able to identify a few more signals that will weed out low quality content more precisely. This will led to more high-quality small and medium sites to rank better.

The winners and losers

Early reports from Searchmetric show in the US the biggest winners appear to be sites in news, content and download portal realm. While the biggest losers this time could be sites in games, lyrics and some medical content. The reasons these types of websites find themselves losing out in the update is because their content is very thin and not unique. While the owners of these website might find their drop in positions disappointing, it does show that Panda 4.1 is doing its job.

What to do if your site is hit by the update?

When the Panda update was first released, Google’s head of search spam, Matt Cutts tried to answered the question what should a site owner do if they think they might be affected by Panda?” His short answer is to make sure that you write high quality content, that is at a level that would be worthy of being in a published book or a popular magazine.

If you would like to know more about it, here is the video that his made:

What does this mean for our Customers?

Some might say through luck, but I believe it is through hard work and good content management, our site and our client’s site have remained largely unaffected. In fact, many have seen an increase in their rankings on Monday morning and it has continued this morning.  One of our biggest winners saw an increase in position for 20 keywords with the biggest jump being 34 places. While some have maintained their original positions.