As we’ve mentioned before, every new update that Google makes to their search algorithms is subject to intense scrutiny by the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) community. So what’s the latest news? That would be the release of version 4.2 of Google’s Panda algorithm.
As you may recall, the purpose of Panda is to encourage high-quality content and discourage practices like “keyword stuffing”, in which site owners fill their sites with a large number of possible search terms in hopes of being displayed in as many search results as possible, whether their site is relevant to those searches or not.
Whenever Google updates their algorithms, some sites see a drop in traffic from organic searches, and while they may have taken steps to address any concerns that may have caused them to be “hit by Panda”, they won’t see any positive changes until the next update. Since the most recent update to Panda was made in October 2014, site owners have been waiting for 10 months to see the results of their efforts to improve their site’s quality.
Unfortunately, this new update to Panda is rolling out slowly, with changes expected to take several months to go into effect. Google has said that this is due to technical reasons, but the end result is that site owners will have to wait even longer to see any positive change to their search results.
What Does this Mean for Your Site?
Since it may take some time to see whether this change has affected your site either positively or negatively, it’s best not to overreact to any perceived shifts in traffic. Instead, we recommend keeping an eye on your site's traffic over the next few months, and if you see any large fluctuations in traffic from organic searches, you should take steps to address any issues you might have. This will ensure that you see positive changes in the next Panda update.
Rather than chasing algorithm changes and trying to anticipate how to tailor your site to each new update, we recommend focusing on following SEO best practices like establishing your site’s authority and creating quality content that provides value for your customers. If you’re not sure whether your site meets these standards for quality, take a look at Google’s Quality Rating Guidelines, which can help you make sure you are communicating the purpose of your site and providing the best possible experience for people who use it.
In addition, it's important to address any technical issues like crawl errors, broken links, or poor site performance that may be adversely affecting your search rankings. Google looks at over 200 ranking signals to determine how a site ranks in its search results, and while content quality is important, it is also essential to make sure your site runs properly, is easy to navigate, and is viewable on mobile devices.
Do you have any questions about SEO or want to know whether your site has any issues that might be negatively affecting your search rankings? You can sign up for our Free SEO Health Check, and we’ll examine your site and help you determine what you need to do to get the best possible rankings and increase your traffic. If you have any other questions, please contact us to speak to a SEO expert, or leave a comment below. We look forward to helping you find SEO success!