In May, we reported some kind of Google penalty hit eBay search visibility by nearly 50%. The penalty was due to a manual action by Google and not the Panda 4.0 update. It was in relation to some category pages eBay users landed to while navigating the site. It made users and moreover Google wonder as to why these pages existed. The chief financial officer for eBay, Bob Swan on the company's earnings call said the penalty had a major impact on their earnings.
When Panda 4.0 hit the web, one of the early casualties was the PR sites. Google had always talked about its disappointment with the owned content and links of the PR sites. As such, when PR Newswire lost nearly 63% of its SEO visibility as a result of the Panda 4.0 update, it did not come much as a surprise.
When Google rolled out the Panda 4.0 update last week, there were several speculations regarding the nature of the update. But now things are clearer after the final tip-off came directly from the horse’s mouth. Matt Cutts, Google’s head of Search Spam confirmed in a tweet, the new Panda update is softer and gentler for some sites but it does lay the groundwork to future changes in this direction.
May 21 has been a big day for the search community. 2 major updates in a span of less than 24 hours- Panda 4.0 and Payday Loan 2.0. Although the Panda 4.0 update is a major one, it is much more softer and gentler and can directly impact small businesses perform better in the search results.
Google finally broke the silence over all the discussions surrounding Google updating its algorithm. Google’s Head of Search Spam, Matt Cutts confirmed on Twitter that Google is rolling yet another Panda refresh. Panda 4.0, as Google names this update, brings an end to all the speculations that have been brewing over the past few weeks.
How is This Update Different?
In an answer to the question "what should a site owner do if they think they might be affected by Panda?” Google Head of Spam Search, Matt Cutts has posted a video.
Google had already given a hint about Panda algorithms being pushed out every month over a period of ten days. Matt Cutts also said that there is already a delay in pushing out the monthly Panda refresh because Google wanted to release updates that will soften the algorithm a bit.
And now, Google has confirmed a Panda release saying:
Google is taking the quality of search results seriously and this has been proven with the Google Panda and Penguin updates. Both the updates can work in sync with each other to focus on specific areas of a website and eliminate the low quality websites from the search results. However, there's still a lot more improvements required across different niches.
Google seems to have done their last manual Panda refresh late afternoon on March 14. Forums are rife with a Panda update release with webmasters and SEOs talking about rank changes.
As posted earlier, Panda updates in future will be more integrated with main algorithm and less likely to get noticed. So this must be the last Panda refresh they pushed out manually.
Panda Refreshes will be less shocking to webmasters and SEOs now. Matt Cutts, Google’s head of search spam, announced at SMX West that Panda will a bit more integrated into the mainstream algorithm Panda Everflux. So big Panda is now going to become a rolling update.
Google stated they have “"improved how Panda interacts with our indexing and ranking systems, making it more integrated into our pipelines."