The latest version of Panda is once again revolutionizing the world of online marketing. What is the first balance of its effects? And who are their “collateral victims”? We try to answer these and other questions.
Every time the multinational company from Mountain View officially announces that it has been tinkering with its search algorithm, it gets messed up! A video of Matt Cutts appears, smiling, making one of his solemn declarations, and many SEO professionals start to feel the sword of Damocles combing their heads 🙂 This time, all it took was one Tweet to make many SEOs blanch:
Matt Cutts (@mattcutts) May 20, 2014.
Google is rolling out our Panda 4.0 update starting today
Do you think the SEO community’s reaction is exaggerated? Imagine that you have been working for months on the SEO of a client who has spared no expense to see his online project at the top of the search results. You have met all SEO standards. You have also left your personal mark, including some of your tricks (you know, the ones that don’t appear in the manuals). But the Hummingbird scare has passed, and you decide to go a little further… Being aggressive. No fear! Suddenly, and without warning, Google Panda 4.0 bursts onto the scene. The client knocks on the door and plants before your eyes a screenshot of a Google Analytics graph (a program you taught him to use ;-)), where you can see a plunge of biblical proportions in the traffic of his website. A violent situation… huh?
The only way to do professional SEO and sleep easy is to do it right! 😉
But to what extent is there reason to panic about the changes introduced by Google Panda 4.0? It’s been a little over a month since Matt Cutts announced another twist on the Panda filter. Sufficient time to make a more or less reliable initial assessment of the damage and recommendations for the future.
Before analyzing in detail the dust raised by the new changes of Panda 4.0, let’s take a detour, explaining some basic notions, for those who have just started in this SEO positioning.
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What is Panda 4.0?
Let’s go to the root of the matter. We have all made searches on Google at some time or another and we always expect the search engines to provide us with an accurate answer that solves our doubts, helps us to get more information, etc. But there are millions of sites navigating in the turbulent waters of the Internet. Separating the wheat from the chaff and choosing the ones best suited to a specific search is an arduous task. This is where algorithms come into play.
A search algorithm is a set of formulas and computer processes that, as Google itself says, are responsible for turning queries into answers. Don’t forget that for every search there are thousands of websites with useful information and it is necessary to refine your search in order to find the most accurate alternative in the shortest possible time. They are, in short, the compass that indicates the north in the sea of information that swarm on the Internet.
Algorithms are updated to adjust and improve (at least in theory) these search processes. According to Mr. Google, proposals for changes are suggested by engineers and then undergo extensive evaluation before final release.
Updates to Google’s algorithm are commonplace.. They are not the exception, but the norm! About 500 are carried out every year, which is equivalent to one modification every 17.5 hours. Surprising, isn’t it? Yes, it is, most of these changes are minor and inconsequential. This was not the case for Panda’s appearance on February 24, 2011. That was a real earthquake, forcing many to radically modify their online strategies.
What’s new in Google Panda
According to estimates by
Search Engine Land
7.5% of English-language sites will sooner or later suffer the wrath of Panda 4.0. If you are wondering what the changes consist of, the answer is basically: more of the same! In general terms, Google continues to prioritize useful quality content, and to pursue SEO techniques that alter the SERP’s(Search Engine Results Page). The difference? It is now, admittedly, a bit more efficient, compared to previous updates of the algorithm.
Even the world’s most visited websites become giants with feet of clay when Google’s engineers keep an eye on them. Google’s adjustments have hurt giants such as WordPress, Amazon or Ebay, and have benefited small sites concerned about providing useful and relevant information. So, in between digestion cuts and lipostomias, Panda 4.0 has also provided pleasant surprises and unexpected gifts for some.
What should be taken into account from now on?
After the earthquake, it is time to identify the aspects and factors that must be taken into account in every SEO strategy from now on. Here are a few:
- Quality content and social SEO become important. Posts and other text content above 800 words will be valued. On the other hand, the fact that an online project has an impact on social networks is still an important indicator for Google, which brings us to the next point.
- Viralization counts! As stated. Getting your project to resonate on social networks is not a whim. Especially on Google+! With the latest Panda update, links to pages on this platform become dofollow.
- Only a maximum of two results from a website will appear in the SERPs.
- Local SEO is more relevant than ever.
- You should use natural and semantic keywords. Google is no longer looking for a list with 50 keywords shoehorned into the content, but rather 300 or 400 that define our activity with multiple variables, and that are not repeated ad nauseam!
- Don’t “stuff” your website with advertising. Panda 4.0 may consider it spam.
- Duplicate content, bad, bad! Nothing new.
- Link Building yes, but do it wisely! 🙂 We will talk about this in the next section.
- The siege of black hat techniques is becoming even more acute.
More things… Ah! Yes! Google Panda 4.0 does not come alone. Payday Loan 2.0 is a new version of this filter, which was released in June 2013 and is now also being updated. Its job is to clean the results of queries that tend to spam (online casinos, loans, pornography etc). The big search engine will be stricter with this type of pages. Websites that include highly profitable keywords will fall under the suspicion of the algorithm. This affected, at a stroke, 4% of the websites in Turkey, the country that apparently leads the ranking of the most spammers.
Some things never change…
It has been said that link building will lose importance. In my opinion, this loss of weight will be relative. When a website is liked or is useful to Internet users, it gets external links. Wikipedia has earned the trust of many people, ergo Wikipedia receives links. It’s as simple as that! What better indicator does Google have to assess the authority of a web page?
Getting links from reputable sites is still (and will continue to be) a fast and effective way (when done right) to rank. What is certain is that, from now on , it will be necessary to take even more care in the way of obtaining external links, and to coordinate link building with other types of actions. It is not natural, for example, for a website to get quality links if it does not simultaneously have good feedback on social networks. Google is not stupid! 🙂
What can we do if Google Panda hits us?
Tito Matt answers this question in this Video… 😉