Sarah Shade is a Content Specialist at Express Writers.
The newest Panda is here.
Panda 4.2 is Google’s most recent updated to their algorithm software and it’s already befuddling content marketers everywhere.
It’s no secret that Google can be a little, well…secretive, about its updates so it’s no surprise that nobody really seems to know what’s going on with the 4.2 update.
Fortunately, we’re here to help. Here is what the Google Panda 4.2 updates mean for your web pages— in as plain English as I can utilize.
Google Panda 4.2 Will Affect a Small Percentage of Search Queries
According to expert estimates, the Panda updates will affect some 2-3% of all web searches. It’s important to keep in mind, however, that this is Google we’re talking about so 2-3% equals roughly 36 million searches.
This number isn’t quite as large as some of Panda’s previous updates. Panda 4.0 affected 7.5% of web searches while 4.1 took a toll on 3-5%. It’s easy to understand why some SEO’s are concerned, however, because between September 2011 and May 2014, none of Panda’s updates affected more than 2.4% of web searches.
Panda 4.2 Still Insists Upon Quality Over Quantity
One thing that hasn’t changed with the Panda 4.2 update is the insistence upon quality content. The update puts a high premium on quality content and can be expected to punish scraped content and down rate sites that use shoddy content creation techniques.
As with previous Panda updates, Panda 4.2 is out to do away with keyword stuffing, content mills, ugly, broken or unscrupulous websites and black hat SEO practices that attempt to fly below Google’s algorithm radar.
According to Google’s recent post on Google+:
“Based on user (and webmaster!) feedback, we’ve been able to discover a few more signals to help Panda identify low-quality content more precisely. This results in a greater diversity of high-quality small- and medium-sized sites ranking higher, which is nice.”
For sites that are already creating high-quality content, these updates shouldn’t present a problem. For those that aren’t, however, it might be time for an about-face. Panda 4.2 will further emphasize Google’s insistence that sites need to focus on quality over quantity by producing original content that is well written and utilizes keywords correctly. Additionally, Panda 4.2 can be expected to crack down on ugly, overstuffed websites.
On this same note, any site that has been penalized by any of the previous Panda updates will now have a chance to reform and step over to the side of all that is good and just in the world of content marketing. Sites that were down rated by previous panda updates and have made the needed changes will now have the chance see an uptick in traffic, providing the changes made were up to snuff.
This is a double-edged sword, however, as sites that were not previously affected by the Panda updates may see a downtick in traffic due to the update and its accompanying requirements. If nothing else changes but you notice a lull in traffic post-Panda 4.2, it’s likely the new algorithm is to blame.
Google Panda 4.2 is the Slowest Panda Yet
Although this version of Panda was first introduced on July 18th of this year, the complete rollout is projected to occur slowly over the course of several months. This is not surprising, however, as Google’s updates have gotten slower and slower and the time between updates has expanded.
It’s been ten months since Panda’s 4.1 update and sites that were dinged by that round of updates are anxiously awaiting 4.2 to take hold, although it looks like they’ll have to wait just a bit longer. On that same note, sites that haven’t placed the needed level emphasis on quality content may notice some downticks in their traffic with the 4.2 updates. Unfortunately, once the update is released, it is too late to make changes to a site and those penalized by the new updates will simply have to wait until the next slow Panda comes along.
Because Google Panda 4.2 is such a slow-moving beast, SEOs may have a difficult time determining how and when the algorithm is affecting their site. On this same note, it will be somewhat difficult to pinpoint exactly what Panda 4.2 is promoting or penalizing although it’s safe to say that this update, like all the others, was born for the purpose of buoying quality content to the top of the search rankings.
The More Things Change, the More They Stay the Same
With this recent Panda update, SEO’s have all the same questions they always have: what is the update targeting? How will webmasters become aware of penalties to their sites? What kind of content is best for rankings?
Although the answers to these questions aren’t explicitly clear, it is a safe bet that this Panda is like all of the others in that it is seeking to promote and reward quality content. This means that sites that feature well-written, original content that utilizes high-quality links and has a high DA score are likely safe from any negative affects borne by the 4.2 update.
In light of that, the high ground remains the same: create original content that is high quality, well researched and valuable to your readers. Although Panda’s updates may seem complex, they all point to the same thing: the value of great content and a war on sneaky SEO tactics that allow black hats to trick the system and artificially inflate rankings.
This Panda, like all the other Panda’s in Google’s army, just wants to reward the sites that do the best job and let everyone else step to the back.