The Panda update is a search filter that was first released back in February 2011 to deal with poor quality content. Google works hard to ensure those websites that appear in the search results and especially on page 1 haS good quality content that is well written and useful to the search query.
Google has rolled out the latest version of Panda update. This is 27th update and web writers are calling it as Panda 4.1 as this looks like an upgrade to Google’s last update – Panda 4.0.
As observed from the announcement made by Google, Panda 4.1 is likely to be more precise. The latest post by Google UK employee tells us that newer version of Panda is based on feedback collected from users as well as webmasters. So, we can expect better content evaluation this time.
As per the official announcement made by Pierre Far, Google’s 27th Panda update is another attempt to identify poor quality content and penalize it. A slow rollout has been started and it may take a week to take effect completely. 3-5% location based (pertaining to different languages) queries are expected to get affected and the rollout is going to impact Google rankings of small & medium sized sites. That’s all you can figure out of the supposed announcement made by Google.
What to expect from Panda 4.1?
It’s quite obvious to assume that websites that have been hit earlier and worked on improving their content quality may recover now & those tricking the algorithm may get penalized.
For now we expect Panda 4.1 to make some crucial changes that have been missing in last 26 updates, even though Google has been rolling out a newer version quite frequently.
Assumptions made below are based on real cases observed by the SEO team of Indglobal Technologies while handling various websites.
- Although Google quality guidelines state that Meta tag duplication can lead to penalty but in our work tenure we have not witnessed many sites getting penalized for this reason. Nine out of ten sites that have come to us till date for Pre-SEO analysis carry issues of duplicate Meta tags but Google Panda seems to have never taken this into account till now. Meta tags duplicity hasn’t been the important factor for panda in last 3 years. So, we expect this to change in 2014 as that’s a big violation of Google content guidelines.
- Till today, we have seen many websites getting penalized due to Google Panda but there are still many that do quite well even though their content quality is poor. Only the first Panda rollout in 2011 reported to have affected 11.8% queries that too of English in US. We hope the 27th update will penalize those websites too which have been following unethical content strategies and yet go unaffected & rank higher.
- Since the 4.1 rollout is based on signals discovered from user feedbacks and webmasters response, we are expecting Google to break the trend of link-fondness in SERPs. There are numerous sites that offer copied content and add no value to Google search but still perform well in search engine results just because of their links profiles. We hope that Panda 4.1 comes on strong & bring content on par with links in search engine rankings.
- There are many websites that use a piece of content repeatedly for promotion and Panda seems not to have affected all of those sites yet. Usually the content that gives the best impression to users is picked up and shared time & again on different platforms. This is a sheer case of duplicity but we see no reason why Google Panda has been tolerant towards many sites doing this till now.
- How Google Panda differentiates between content syndication & content duplicity is another area to look upon. Similar content being shared on various platforms creates natural backlinks but somehow creates issues of duplicity. The right way to avoid duplicity is to give a brief idea (originally written) and then offer content link for complete data. This however is violated by fetching an extract from the post and leads to duplicity. It’s tough to maintain quality of search results when any kind of content duplicity goes unregulated. So, we hope Panda 4.1 tackles this particular area too.
Panda 4.1 can prove beneficial only if Google brings out some crucial changes to its content filtering policy this time. Evident changes are required in how high quality content is valued against links prominence in search engine rankings. We have come across situations where a complete web design including text gets copied and the original source of content ranks lower to the copied website.
If Panda 4.1 is stronger than last updates (as it looks from the Google announcement) then it has to be tougher to deal with tricks that are played by websites to get ranked on top positions of Google.
We welcome your opinion on our assumptions and invite open debate on all the points put forth in this post. indglobal has been handling SEO projects of various clients for years and feel motivated to share the experiences with more people. So leave your comments & questions below to get answers from our experts.
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