The new Google Panda 4.0 update

Google released version 4.0 of its Google Panda algorithm last week, as confirmed by Matt Cutts. Google’s head of search spam declared on Twitter: “Google is rolling out our Panda 4.0 update starting today.”

There have been almost-monthly ‘refreshes’ to the Panda algorithm, but 4.0 is an actual ‘update’. Google said this would be a new ‘softer update’ but it has been reported to have impacted around 7.5% searches in the English language.

Do you think Google Panda has hit your site? Here’s  some tips on how to beat Google Panda 4.0.

google panda 4.0

Panda was launched by Google back in February 2011 as their way to penalise websites with poor content. The idea behind Panda is that users really want fresh unique content and therefore websites copying content from other sites in order to rank better should be punished. Fair enough.

Poor content? Matt Cutts stated that content “that’s derivative, or scraped, or duplicate, and just not as useful” would be classed as poor content and would be liable for a Panda hit.

Good content? The key here for keeping the Panda happy is originality. Duplicate content might seem like a short cut and it is – towards a lower position in search. As well as original text, Cutts suggests thinking about “the sort of content that people really enjoy, that’s compelling, the sort of thing that they’ll love to read that you might see in a magazine or in a book, and that people would refer back to, or send friends to, those sorts of things,”

If you have any poor content on your site, remove and replace. Keep adding fresh content that will appeal to users.

It was thought that eBay was one of the biggest Panda 4.0 losers, with up to 80% of its prime search results dropping from Google page 1…. Ouch.

It has since been suggested by recode that eBay were instead hit with a manual action from Google on the same day as the release of Panda 4.0. Either way, eBay has a little work to do. If this was a Panda penalty, how does a site like eBay stop duplicate content being posted to their site?