Hey there, .CO-ers! As you know, we love to keep you in the know about all things SEO, and that includes informing you of the latest news in the world of search engines.
May was a busy month in the land of search engines since Google launched two major updates to its search algorithm. For a primer on what algorithm changes are, check out our previous post breaking down the basics.
On May 20th, Google rolled out two major changes to its search algorithm by way of its Panda 4.0 and Payday Loan 2.0 algorithm changes. Read on for a breakdown of each of these big updates.
Payday Loan 2.0
The first and less wide-reaching algorithm update launched last month is called the Payday Loan update. Payday Loan update rolled out in June of 2013, and targeted spammy website categories such as “cheap Viagra” and “payday loans”—hence the name.
The latest iteration—version of 2.0—rolled out over the weekend of May 16th, and its launch was officially announced by Google on May 20th. Unless your website is in a spammy vertical, you don’t have to worry about the Payday Loan update. It was a highly narrowly focused update, and only impacted roughly of 0.3% of U.S. search queries.
The “big daddy” of the May updates is Panda 4.0. Panda targets websites with low quality and “thin” content. Also officially announced on May 20th, the Panda 4.0 update was far more wide-reaching than the Payday Loan update, and thousands of websites got hit. First launched back in 2011, the Panda Update has been one of the most significant algorithm change series to ever launch in Google’s history. A few months ago, it was announced that since its initial release, it has been updated approximately 25 times. Read all about it in our Panda blog post.
With the 4.0 version, Google’s Matt Cutts described this update as being a “softer version” of the Panda update—which can be interpreted as being not quite as far-reaching, and also friendlier to smaller websites and businesses. Google has also mentioned that this update will serve as a foundation for the future iterations of Panda.
It has been announced that Panda 4.0 has affected 7.5% of English queries.
Who Got Impacted
Thousands of websites around the world saw an impact in their search engine rankings from the Panda 4.0 update. Many website owners have reported they have seen increases in their search engine rankings, but there were also a significant amount of websites that experienced massive declines.
Since the Panda update is targeted around low-quality content, many of the sites on the “losers” list were either lacking in content, or posting duplicate or poor-quality content. This round of Panda, some very big retailers made the list of “losers”—which you can read about here.
How Do You Know if You Got Hit
If you’re not already tracking your core SEO metrics, then be sure to take a look at our previous post on SEO tracking & data. Take a look at your analytics and Google Webmaster Tools data for insight into your performance. Has your search engine traffic dramatically decreased since May 20th? Search for a few of your core terms in Google—have your rankings seen a noticeable decrease over the last week? If so, it’s time to take a look at your SEO strategy and take major steps toward improving your website’s content.
What to Do
Substantial, informative, relevant, high-quality content that is original and unique to your website is an absolute must have! Don’t create great content just for the sake of SEO—most importantly, create it for your users. Ask yourself what kind of content they want to see on your site. If you have an ecommerce website, make sure your product descriptions are well-written and unique. If you haven’t already, start blogging. If you outsource your content creation, hire quality writers instead of saving money to hire cheaper, less experienced copywriters.
Your website’s content is huge part of its identity. For tips about writing great content, be sure to check out our blog post all about content & SEO. And, it’s a good idea to make sure your website meets all of the core SEO best practices, which we’ve covered extensively in our on-site SEO blog post and link building post.
We hope you have found our blog post useful and informative. We love our .CO-ers, and will continue to keep you up to date on everything you need to succeed! Remember to check out of our past SEO posts, and make sure to stop by often since we constantly update our SEO posts.