Google is continuously making updates to its algorithm in order to fulfill its mandate of providing reliable and accurate information to its users. Google Panda and Penguin are the two most watched search engine updates in the online world. Google Panda which was first released in February 2011 targets low quality sites or what are known as thin sites so as to penalise them and return higher quality sites in prime positions on the search engine results pages. The last Panda update was done in September 25th 2014. This Panda 4.1 was the 28th update since the beginning of the Panda algorithmic changes.
On July 18th 2015, Panda 4.2 also known as Panda Update 30 was announced. Unlike its previous counterparts, this roll out is happening very slowly meaning it can take months to roll out completely. Even though the algorithm is a site-wide refresh, website owners may not see changes in other pages of their sites. According to Google, the Panda 4.2 refresh affected about 2 to 3 percent of English language queries.
What Google Panda 4.2 Means to You
The speed with which Panda 4.2 is rolling out gives an opportunity to businesses that have been penalised by Panda in previous updates to emerge if they put in place the necessary changes. Although the changes in organic rankings will be gradual, sites that are considered quality and sound will ultimately have higher rankings.
The reason why Google Panda 4.2 is a wait and see game is because Google has decided to implement it slowly over time. This means businesses which are looking to quickly benefit from enhanced visibility will have to prove that they can sustain the best practices over the duration of the roll out.
What’s New from 4.1?
The Panda 4.1 update which was unveiled on September 25th 2014 affected 3 to 5 percent of queries as opposed to the 2 to 3 percent of queries affected in Panda 4.2. The 4.1 update was more of a filter targeting poor or thin content. In a statement from Google, the Panda 4.1 algorithmic change generally allowed high quality small and medium sized sites to achieve higher ranks.
To be on the safe side, business owners must invest in good quality content that is also Google friendly. This will allow the search engine spiders to crawl the content using the hyperlinks and indexing its keywords for display when a user queries its database during search.
Making Your Content Google Friendly
To escape the negative effects of Google 4.2 refresh, you must concentrate on making your content crawlable and meaningful not only to the search engines but also to your readers. One of the metrics that determines the quality of your content is its length. Google prefers articles that are 300 words and above. This is because articles below 300 words are considered thin and devoid of substance. Secondly, Google also looks at the originality of the content. Google tries as much as possible to ensure content duplication does not surface on the web. To this end, it penalises any sort of duplication of content. It uses a technique called chunking to scan for duplicate content online.
The 4.2 update is a mixed bag of emotions because on one hand the business community will be expectant the update will lift their site rankings to a whole new level while on the other, companies that have been affected before will be a little bit nervous as they try to figure out the impact of the update.
A Clueless Update
Google rarely gives information or clue on what is included in a particular update hence leaving experts to figure out the details. The good thing is Matt Cutts, head of Google Webspam, runs a blog which tries to demystify the jargon in search engine rankings and provides some information on the latest updates.
In the 21st century, the nature of our economy is characterised by fast information flow, competition and innovation. In order to make it through and sit at prime positions on search engine rankings, you must not ignore good web practices. Your success online will be determined by your positioning on Google. Therefore, even though it is a wait and see game, the impact of Panda 4.2 will be felt at some point. This means you need to do all you can to ensure the update interacts with the positive side of your business.