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Google Panda 4.1 - What it Means for Small Business Websites

With all of the talk of Pandas, Penguins, Pigeons you might be bit confused. You may be even more confused if you Googled these things and came across a website that explains them in a fashion that is just too difficult to understand. Don't get frustrated. This information is important, but I'd like to explain it to you in a very basic way.

What is Panda 4.1?

Panda is the name of the update to Google's algorithm that affects where and how websites are ranked in the search results. There are algorithm updates fairly consistently, but the bigger ones affect more search results and you've probably already heard something about them. This update will affect 3-5% of all search reults and focuses on the quality of content. The Panda update itself has run before and many websites were penalized for having poor content, therefore those links were removed from the search results likely reducing their website traffic.

The Panda update will run again crawling those same sites as well as any other websites in the index. If a website was previously penalized and they fixed the issues since the last roll-out, their pages will likely be re-added to the results. If they haven't fixed the issues, their website visibility will continue to suffer until the next Panda update. For websites that were not previously affected, they will be crawled and if determined they don't meet the standards they too will be penalized.

What I Mean By Poor Content

For a long time, SEO professionals have probably told you that content is king, right? [Nod your head yes.] Some people perceived that in a different way than others, thinking that the SEO told them to create as much possible content as you can as fast as you can and don't work about the quality of that content. Or in a worse case, you hired an SEO that tried to cheat their way to success by creating a ton of poor content for you.

This results in content that is pretty much useless for a human. Not only is it hard to read because it was written so poorly (or doesn't make any sense at all), but it provides no value either. This might mean a website author has rewritten the same article 15 times, just changing the title and a couple of words or they have just written garbage that contains desired keywords for ranking.

Think about your content strategy...did you write content for your website visitors or merely for search engines? Is your content unique or a carbon copy of something else. Can someone actually read your content and make sense of it, or is it a bunch of gibberish. If you've truly created content for the readers, you've got nothing to worry about. If you tried to pull a fast one one Google, you just may need to start worrying.

How Will You Know?

Simple. Google Analytics. If you had content that once generated traffic and you see an abrupt drop in traffic starting anytime between now and late last month, you've been hit.

What's the Good News?

How did you know there was good news? Well, good news...there is good news.

This Google Algorithm update has been modified to be able to reward high quality content on both small and mid-size websites. For our clients, we've always stressed content quality so not only do you not have to worry, but you may actually see an increase in traffic!

Hopefully this explained the update to you in the most basic terms. If you have more specific questions, we'd be happy to answer them!