Beginning back in 2011, Google first released an update to their search algorithm that sought to improve the search experience for its users. Three years and 24 updates later, we have Panda 4.0.
The latest update, like the updates to the initial Panda launch, seek to find quality content for the searcher. The update was originally created to target and punish, with lower rankings, so called “content farms.” These sites aggregate content from numerous sources in an effort to show up higher in search results. This can be seen as a lower quality website practice. Google doesn’t like “content farming,” since it has the potential to lower the quality of search results. The result is that those “content farm” sites get lower organic search rankings
The update to the search algorithm is estimated, by SearchEnglineLand to affect around 7.5 percent of English language searches to a degree that’s noticeable. For perspective, the first Panda update affected a reported 11.8 percent of English searches. Since 2011, the other updates have only changed as much as 2.4% of English searches, making this change potentially three times as meaningful as those which occurred during the past few years.
This begs the question: who is this impacting right now? SearchMetrics SEO blog made a list of its initial “winners” and “losers” to the Panda 4.0 update. They based the results on sites that saw a plus or minus of at least 20% and had a search visibility of at least 10000 before the update. Basically, this means the percentage of SEO visibility lost or gained relative to pre-update levels. Here are a few results from SearchMetrics:
“Losers” of Panda 4.0
- ebay.com > -33%
- ask.com > - 50%
- yellowpages.com > -20%
- health.com > -50%
- csmonitor.com > -33%
“Winners” of Panda 4.0
- glassdoor.com > +100%
- Wikipedia.org > +100%
- eMedicineHealth.com > +500%
- zimbio.com > +500%
- simplyhired.com > +100%
- thinkexist.com > +250%
Google has provided the trusted platform for online searches, and, as this update shows, everyone has to play by their rules. Since this was only announced yesterday, the effects are still being sorted out, however a reasonable idea would be to check on your website traffic today and this week compared with before May 21st.
Our next installment seeks to determine how Panda could impact your store.
What do you think? Have you noticed a difference in your metrics already?