Interest is always high whenever changes are made to the Panda algorithm, due to the fact that it aims to pinpoint websites with thin content or high ad-to-content ratios, as well as content farms.
However, this update is particularly intriguing as it is the first time that a Panda refresh has officially occurred since Panda 4.1 hit the scene on September 2014. That refresh affected between two and three per cent of English language queries, according to Google, but updates usually occur much more frequently — there has been 30 confirmed Panda updates since the original algorithm launched in February 2011.
Our Head of Search, Kev Strong, has been monitoring Google Panda 4.2 since the algorithm update launched on July 18th. Read on to find out his expert insight on the subject:
How worried should I be about Google Panda 4.2?
As this is a data refresh it is safe to assume that you shouldn’t be worried if your website was not affected by Panda 4.1 — particularly if you have been writing your content in the same way as always. However, if you have been writing content or implementing content on your website that is against Googles Webmaster Guidelines (e.g. automated content, scraped content and duplicated content), then this may trigger a Panda trigger on your website and affect you.
Likewise, if you were affected by Panda 4.1 then this should have a positive effect on your performance if you corrected the reasons why you were affected in the first place – again due to the fact this is a data refresh.
Despite this looking like a slow rollout, has there been anything of note for this update already?
Some people have reported seeing fluctuations in traffic, but from our analysis we haven’t seen any major changes in traffic. One thing Google has confirmed is that this will affect two to three per cent of search queries (just like Panda 4.1), which further echoes the fact this is a data refresh and not an update.
Google hasn’t officially confirmed how slow this rollout will be, however Gary Illyes (Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google) confirmed in a tweet that it will take “a few months” to complete.
Is that all we are going to see from Google when it comes to major algorithm updates for the year – we’ve already seen the Quality Update and Mobilegeddon – or do you feel they have more to come?
Google has made a very large effort to clean up their search engine results in the last few years — particularly in the last two years. I feel that there may be more updates around Penguin as well as technology implementation preferences. For example, John Mueller hinted to their preference to not use “Read More” for content in a Google Hangout in November 2014 (https://www.seroundtable.com/google-hidden-tab-content-seo-19489.html).
Small changes like this can have huge impacts on websites in terms of web development and costs, so it is always something we are striving to foresee at Mediaworks to ensure our advice is future-proofed for Google.
Whilst not necessarily updates or penalties, I feel that Google will continue to implement several UI changes that will affect search engine traffic for users:
- Knowledge graph:
- Local results: http://www.google.co.uk/search?q=cafes+in+Manchester
Still have questions regarding Google Panda 4.2 or wondering how we can help your website to perform better online? Contact us to see what we can do for you or tune into our webinars to enhance your knowledge in all aspects of creative search.