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Google Unleashed Panda 4.0 Dropping Massive Sites Like E-Bay & Others!

Jun. 19, 2014


Google’s latest algorithm adjustment – the so-called  Panda 4.0  - was introduced in May and already appears to have had a widespread effect on numerous websites. To go back in history for a moment, you may remember that it was way back in 2011 that Google unveiled its new Panda algorithm aimed at a bringing to the forefront those high quality sites whose content Panda considers “good” and lowering the SERPs rankings of sites with poor content.

(You already know that Panda algorithm is named after the Google algorithm whiz who created it, and not after the animal, right?)
Since the launch in 2011 there have been around 25 systematic updates – that’s around one per month since Panda came into being. 
 
The difference with the latest Panda 4.0 update is that Google technicians went back to the original algorithm and tweaked it again from ground zero, so its impact goes way beyond yet another ‘refresh’. This is why we are seeing it have such a huge impact on so many sites.
 
Some of the worst affected sites include e-bay which lost around one third of its ranking and ask.com which lost a whopping 50% of its placement. There are also many other sites that saw a huge drop in page rankings.
Others saw a substantial increase in their placement, including several medical health sites, dictionary.com, and even shopstyle.com which improved its ranking by 250%.

Google Panda 4.0 Traffic Changes

TRAFFIC LOSERS            TRAFFIC WINNERS

DOMAIN

PERCENT

ask.com

> – 50%

ebay.com

> – 33%

biography.com

> – 33%

retailmenot.com

> – 33%

starpulse.com

> – 50%

history.com

> – 33%

isitdownrightnow.com

> – 50%

aceshowbiz.com

> – 75%

examiner.com

> – 50%

yellowpages.com

> – 20%

yourtango.com

> – 75%

dealcatcher.com

> – 50%

livescience.com

> – 50%

webopedia.com

> – 50%

DOMAIN

PERCENT

glassdoor.com

> 100%

emedicinehealth.com

> 500 %

medterms.com

> 500 %

yourdictionary.com

> 50%

shopstyle.com

> 250%

zimbio.com

> 500 %

myrecipes.com

> 250%

couponcabin.com

> 250%

buzzfeed.com

> 25%

consumeraffairs.com

> 100%

wordpress.com

> 20%

thinkexist.com

> 250%

onhealth.com

> 250%

alternativeto.net

> 100%



It is becoming clear that one of Panda 4.0’s new tweaks is to penalize sites that use press-releases with spammy links in order to try to build credibility. 

Google has repeated ad nauseum that they want natural, organically grown websites that provide honest, reputable information to their users to rank high in SERPs listings. They are on a continued crusade to eliminate any artificial attempts to beat the Panda algorithm. 

Some analysts also think that Google may have improved Panda’s ability to crawl complicated web sites so that it is now more capable of picking up on any quality content that it finds.

What can we learn from Panda 4.0?

Good quality content still counts

Yet again we are seeing that unique content is the way to go. Get rid of all duplications and make what you say well-written, easy to read and very informative. 
  • Think about inspiring your users, not criticizing your competition. 
  • Think about problem solving not fault-finding. 
  • Think positive not negative.
  • Think added-value not derogatory censorship

Keywords are no longer key:

Forget about cramming your pages with overdone keywords in the hope of ranking high. That tactic is long out of date and what works better now is educational, entertaining information written using all the vocabulary you choose that is related to the topic.
 

Authority

 
Aim to become an authority in your area. Write as much as you can about your topic and include background material that adds to the theme. The more you write and post onsite, the more likely you are to be discovered and get a reputation for knowing what you are talking about. But be sure to do your research well since if you misinform your users this can quickly backfire on you!

Spread your reach:

 
Build a strong content strategy by considering how best to get the same message across using the whole spectrum of communications technology. Think about integrating Pay Per Click ads, email, social media and your lynchpin website to speak as one integrated voice to spread the word of who you are and what you do.
 

Identify Your Target Audience:


Know who you are writing and posting for. Be clear about the tone and vocabulary you need to use to get through to them best. Adapt your style to suit each domain rather than copy and pasting from one to the next. The emphasis is on personalizing content so it reads as if it was written for you alone.

Engage and Entertain:

 
The days of hard sell are long behind. Today if you don’t entertain your user you probably won’t be given the time of day. Think of your content as a sort of story and try to make it unfold in an engaging and easy to understand way. 

Don’t post anything until it has been spell and grammar checked and re-read by a colleague for a quality check!
 

Don’t be afraid to delete bad content:

 
If it doesn’t work for the algorithm then start again from zero. In the end it may be faster than trying to adapt bad content to fit the new high quality mould. Get rid of all duplications and consolidate thin pages – your SERPs rankings will only thank you for it.

Layout is key
Use headings, lists, subheadings, bullets, images, photos and other strategies to break up long blocks of texts. Better to have ten small bite-size paragraphs than one full page. Web-users have notoriously short attention spans and too many words altogether will turn them off. 

Simplify and cut the length to keep your users on your side.

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