SEO is ever changing. As Google updates its search algorithm to Panda 4.0 – the ‘magic formula’ it uses to rank websites for specific keywords – SEO must evolve in response. Failure to change tactics, and a website can quickly slip from the top of the search results to page 2, 3, 4 or beyond. But while some changes are anticipated, others are totally unexpected as Google never truly reveals the extent of the changes. Why is that? Because if everyone knew how to perfect SEO strategy, Google’s search results would be inaccurate – which goes against its entire reason for being!
To stay ahead, the SEO industry must react to Google’s algorithm changes the only way it knows best – by continually observing, testing and trialling new methods. Long-term trends in Google’s updates can be spotted with a keen eye – and future changes can be anticipated too.
So what is Panda 4.0?
Towards the end of May 2014, Google sent out its latest version of the Panda update, known as Panda 4.0. It was announced with no prior warning by Matt Cutts – the man responsible for heading up these changes at Google (the figurehead of SEO, if you will!).
As with every update, Panda 4.0 has affected some websites more than others. While some companies will have observed a slip in search rankings, others may suddenly have reached page one without having to try. If either scenario happened to your website, it could be as a result of Panda 4.0.
In the wake of Panda 4.0, most SEOs agree that the biggest casualty has been websites with low quality content. That means sites churning out content to score cheap SEO ‘points’ will be damaged by dropping down the search rankings, while those with genuinely useful and relevant copy are favoured by Google. Content aggregators are a good example – by recycling content found elsewhere on the web, they are classed as ‘low value’ by Google. But websites creating their own, original content are given a boost – because they are of high value to the internet community at large.
What changes should you make?
To stay on the right side of Google, it’s important to learn from the latest algorithm changes. In the case of Panda 4.0, it’s time to start creating original content on your website. Here’s how to do it.
- If you don’t already have one, start your own company blog. Create posts that will be useful to your audience – whether that’s how-to guides, insightful stories or product highlights and feature pieces.
- Review your existing website copy. Is it totally authentic? If the answer is no, it may be time for a rewrite.
- How well received is your content on social media? Does it get shares, comments, likes or retweets? If it’s not eliciting a response from your audience, you need to understand exactly why.
- Is your content trustworthy – backed up by facts and figures? Are you an established voice of authority online?
If you have been affected by Panda 4.0, the time to act is now. Even small changes could produce big results – get in touch with us to get some help!