Post by Erik Bergstrom, SEO Analyst
Since announced in February 2011, Google has made continuous updates to its Panda search algorithm focused around bringing high quality content to the foreground of the search engine results page (SERP). Similar to Panda 4.0, the most recent algorithm update announced on September 25th, Panda 4.1, rewards high quality content with better rankings, giving small and medium-sized sites with high quality content more visibility opportunities.
WHAT WE KNOW:
According to early reports from Search Metrics, initial winners and losers of the Panda 4.1 algorithm update are:
- Winners: News, content sites and download portals sites
- Losers: Games, lyrics and select medical portals sites
PROTECTING AGAINST PANDA:
There’s no easy fix for businesses negatively affected by Panda algorithm updates. If your brand has been affected, it is most likely because your content is thin or redundant. Thin content, or content that exists to promote certain keywords and provides poor user experience, must be revised in favor of higher quality content that is unique and engaging. Before Panda, many sites were able to achieve high rankings for a particular set of keywords by repeating key phrases numerous times on short form content, signifying a higher relevance to Google. If you are not sure if your business does this, use Google Webmaster Tools to audit suspect pages and observe any significant changes that have recently taken place.
The best piece of advice you will hear about dealing with Panda 4.1 is to upgrade poor content. Make sure to stick to the fundamentals: increase the value of your content by optimizing for user experience- not just for SERP rankings. Be sure to link your content both internally and externally when appropriate, and remember to promote social engagement through reviews or active social media use.
In July, Google released a significant local search algorithm update to provide more relevant and accurate local search results (the name “Pigeon” comes from Search Engine Land as Google has not issued a name for this update). The local search algorithm update mainly affects Google Maps and Google Web search results.
WHAT WE KNOW:
Pigeon’s update focuses on changes in signals Google uses in web search along with spelling corrections, synonyms and Knowledge Graph updates. Additionally, Google has noted the algorithm change will improve its distance and location ranking parameters. Major trends and effects from the Pigeon update remain to be seen, but changes in local listings are being documented and tracked by Search Engine Land, as search marketing experts continue to investigate the full implications of Google’s local algorithm update.
PROTECTING AGAINST PIGEON:
As Pigeon continues to be tracked, stay tuned for updates on how Pigeon is affecting your business and what steps you can take to mitigate unwanted changes. Currently, Pigeon seems to be a beneficial tweak in the search algorithm to ensure more accurate local results for users. Google has not released what percent of search queries they believe will be affected by the update, but if you experience changes in your local business results, please contact your Performics Account Team today.