You may have noticed that Google officially released Panda 4.0 in May and although a subtle change may have been seen initially it seems after a couple of weeks, an increasing number of larger companies and press release websites are being affected by the update.
To refresh your minds, the Panda algorithm was created to help boost traffic to websites with high quality content whilst pushing low quality and thin content websites down in the search results. Google Panda ultimately works to provide users with the best search results possible for their search queries.
Panda 4.0, has rolled out at the same time as a refresh of another algorithm that is currently working on targeting payday loan websites to prevent them from taking over search results with spammy queries and thin content pages.
With both updates rolling out at the same time, it has made it slightly more difficult to analyse the affect of one without taking into consideration the other, and in some cases webmasters may experience being hit by both updates at the same time.
Google had previously promised that Panda updates would be ‘softer’ in the future and integrated into the main algorithm updates meaning a less noticeable change in rankings and traffic.
However, Panda 4.0 has had a big affect on some well-known large businesses including eBay with their traffic experiencing a decrease of 35% since the algorithm update rolled out in May.
In the last few days, searchengineland.com has also confirmed that press releases websites seem to have been hit big time, although this could be down to many other factors.
Top press release sites such as PRWeb.com, PRLog and PR Newswire have experienced significant drops in rankings positions on Google losing between 60% -85% of their visibility on Google.
Some webmasters have used press release websites as a tool to generate links for their sites rather then focusing on producing strong news worthy press releases with natural and ‘real’ content.
If used correctly, press release websites will continue to be a strong source of link building but spammy tactics most definitely need to be reigned in and branded anchor text, relevant links should be used.
A positive note is that a lot of smaller businesses with strong websites are seeing a positive affect from the latest update with serious improvements in traffic.
It’s simple really.
The key is; if you have noticed a decrease in organic search traffic, around the 19th May, then it is likely that your website has been hit as this is the big factor for Panda 4.0.
You may have experienced a drop in ranking positions towards the end of May and into June too, which could be telltale signs that Panda 4.0 has affected your website.
However, if you have experienced a significant increase in traffic and higher ranking positions on Google then congratulations Panda 4.0 has rewarded your website for being great!
Here is an interesting blog post by a web master that has unfortunately had one of his websites targeted by Panda 4.0.
Feel free to speak to our digital marketing experts for advice on removing a Google penalty and how we can help your website overcome any damage it may have had on your online business.