It was just announced, via Matt Cutts on Twitter, that Google has unleashed its newest beast onto the Interwebs: Panda 4.0. Like previous installments of Panda, this update appears to be targeting sites with low-quality, over-optimized content—while at the same time rewarding sites with high-quality, original content. Google giveth, and Google taketh away.
Complicating matters is the fact that Google also rolled out a “payday loan” algorithm change around the same time, which affects some of the spammiest search queries. There is speculation that this change targets low-quality backlinks and link schemes often used in very competitive markets like payday loans. The fact that these two algorithm updates were released around the same time may make it difficult to determine why a site has lost visibility and traffic.
Time to Panic About This Algorithm Change?
If your site is affected by Panda 4.0, you will notice a drop in visibility and traffic soon. Check out the words that Cutts used in his Tweet: he states that the update is “starting today.” This indicates that it could be rolled out over some undefined period of time, so it may be difficult to diagnose the problem right away. Should you panic?
You only need to worry if you or your webmaster have been adding thin, unoriginal, spun content to your website. If you've outsourced all of your content creation and have never really checked that the quality of it is original, you'll want to pay attention in the next few weeks to see if you were affected.
As with all major Google updates and algorithm changes, even the most seasoned SEO experts are just making well-educated guesses about Panda 4.0; it is simply too early to tell what is going to come of the update. But what's obvious is that the update focuses on low-quality content, and there are some things you can do to keep an eye on Panda's effects on your site.
What You Should Do About Panda 4.0
Keep a close eye on both your traffic and visibility by monitoring your Google organic traffic. We suggest that you make sure your web marketing company is monitoring this algorithm change. If they find that your site has been negatively affected, they will need to take the right steps to remedy the situation—specifically, doing a content audit to clean up low-quality content and putting a better content plan into place.
If you were affected, look at this as an opportunity to change how you approach web marketing. (And even if you weren't, do a little soul-searching and ask yourself if it's time to step up your efforts!) Don't take the easy way out and outsource your content or your marketing to the lowest bidder; you should never put your marketing on auto-pilot. Get engaged. Find writers, SEOs, and marketers you can trust with your business so you don't have to sweat every time Google makes a change.
What We Are Doing About Panda 4.0
Our SEO team will be monitoring the sites of our CMP (Custom Marketing Plan) clients. These clients have taken advantage of our SEO and content writing services and, therefore, we want to ensure that there is no fallout from this latest Google update, namely a drop in visibility and traffic—although we are not too worried about Panda 4.0. Our content is never outsourced and is produced by our team of experienced, U.S.-based writers. We also meet monthly with our clients to discuss their marketing; this close collaboration ensures that our marketing efforts never become complacent.