Last month, yet again, we saw another major update on Google algorithm. It was a major update to their previous update called "Panda". Panda 4.0 was released on May 20th. Like all updates there were winners, losers, people panicking, and recovery tutorials widely available.
We already know about Google Panda updates, so why is Panda 4.0 any different? It short, nothing, it's the same as the older updates of Panda. It still focuses on your onsite content, duplicate content, and usability of your site.
Panda Is Now Gentler On Sites
Barry Schwartz at SearchEngineLand.com reported that this update is targeting sites with poor content that are ranking high in Google. A.K.A. spammy sites. What is different about the Panda release is that it may have a more gentle approach. The main focus to help small businesses not be effected by the change. If they are following best practices. This it should only impact about ~7.5% of total queries made in Google for an English based search.
Search Engine Land has also posted a chronological list of the result Panda updates from day one:
Panda Update 1, Feb. 24, 2011
Panda Update 2, April 11, 2011
Panda Update 3, May 10, 2011
Panda Update 4, June 16, 2011
Panda Update 5, July 23, 2011
Panda Update 6, Aug. 12, 2011
Panda Update 7, Sept. 28, 2011
Panda Update 8, Oct. 19, 2011
Panda Update 9, Nov. 18, 2011
Panda Update 10, Jan. 18, 2012
Panda Update 11, Feb. 27, 2012
Panda Update 12, March 23, 2012
Panda Update 13, April 19, 2012
Panda Update 14, April 27, 2012
Panda Update 15, June 9, 2012
Panda Update 16, June 25, 2012
Panda Update 17, July 24, 2012
Panda Update 18, Aug. 20, 2012
Panda Update 19, Sept. 18, 2012
Panda Update 20 , Sept. 27, 2012
Panda Update 21, Nov. 5, 2012
Panda Update 22, Nov. 21, 2012
Panda Update 23, Dec. 21, 2012
Panda Update 24, Jan. 22, 2013
Panda Update 25, March 15, 2013
What Sites Got Hit?
There is always a shake up when Google publishes a new update. For some it takes a major toll on their business and this time around Ebay felt the wrath. Larry Kim at WordStream.com reports that Ebay has one of the most infected sites in the Panda update.
Dr. Pete at Moz.com shows that Ebay was in major control of a lot of Google search results. Taking a hold of 1.0% of all Google Top 10 related queries.
After the update he noticed that Ebay's share in the Top 10 dropped significantly down to .25%. That is a 75% traffic cut from their website. With Ebay being one of the most popular shopping platforms for users, you can only imagine how big of a loss that is.
Other Winner and Losers
Ebay wasn't the only sites that got hit by Panda. SearchMetrics.com conducted an analysis of some of the top websites after the update. Their conclusion, which doesn't go by traffic or organic searches, but uses SEO visibility.
There is Good News
After the bad news from Panda there is always good news. After the update there was a survey put together at SERoundTable.com on how Panda impacted other sites.
Most people did see a decrease in their ranking that wasn't caused before. 24% remained the same, 20% increased their ranking, and 16% revered from a previous Panda penalty. That gives you 60% of sites either didn't feel the effect.
Now there is still the 40% that did get hit. How many of these sites are not putting up useful information? We may never know. There is most likely honest sites that do get hit by these updates that Google will need to address.
How To Protect Yourself From Panda
There are a lot of different tutorials and articles talking about how to beat Panda. What I have found comes down to your site's content, usability and duplicate content.
AHrefs.com posted a short article called How to Identify and Recover from a Google Panda Penalty. It talks about going through your website and identifying any duplicate content on your site.
Another Panda issues is testing your website's loading speed and usability issues. Check for any website security, crawl, or HTML issues in Google Webmaster Tools.
Another approach is Mathew Woodward's How To Build & Rank A Site That Beats Panda 4.0 article. It talks about how he create a site not to Google standards and has consistently dodged the Panda update. He has a case study where they used web spam and duplicate content, but still ranks high in Google.
Google Panda Conclusion
If you have been in the game of search engine optimization, Google Panda shouldn't be new to you. It's basically the same process as the others. Keep your content useful and informational, this will keep you out of its black list.
If you feel like you do fall into a Panda update, just continue to write better content, speed up your site, and you will recover.