Any time Google makes significant updates to their algorithm, businesses can expect to see a change in their website traffic. For some websites, the updates can be hugely beneficial. But for others, these same updates can be detrimental. This fluctuation in traffic is affected by where Google places your website on a search page.
Google’s latest update to the Panda algorithm is focused on authorship and content quality. Google has released multiple updates to Panda since its introduction in 2011. Some of the past updates have been minor, addressing security and maintenance. However, the latest update (Panda 4.0) is considered to be a highly impactful. Many websites are seeing huge increases in traffic, while others are seeing major negative effects to their once successful website traffic.
Authority is one of the major factors that has the greatest affect on search engine optimization (SEO). But what exactly is authority? It is the idea that your website is seen as a reputable source of information and a leader in your field. But, there is a lot of ambiguity surrounding the term “authority,” and no one seems to know exactly how Google calculates it. Google is constantly updating their criteria for what constitutes authority in order to hinder illegitimate websites from posing as credible sources.
Google erroneously penalized sites that were legitimate authority leaders in their field with past Panda updates. For example, websites that publish medical content have a major problem with other medical sites stealing their content and re-posting it to other websites. This duplication of content hurts the original publisher because their authority is compromised. Originally, Google was not able to differentiate the good from the bad, so the attempt to block spam also blocked the original content provider. Luckily, Panda 4.0 may be able to better protect the original publisher from SEO penalties.
The latest Panda update has helped the original content publishers regain most of their initial SEO traction. Although many sites with stolen content are still not seeing as much traffic as they originally saw before the harmful Panda update, they are definitely moving in the right direction. Panda 4.0 puts a greater emphasis on authorship, how well the content is written, and how long the content has been published on the site.
While original content publishers are seeing significant benefits from the Panda 4.0 update, there are a lot of websites that are quite disgruntled, specifically eBay, RetailMeNot, and Ask.com. The source of eBay’s problems lies in their spam like pop-ups, poorly written content, and avoidance of Adwords. eBay is experiencing their own can of problematic worms, and which would take an article to explain. But, the moral of the story is: have great content that is well written well and don’t produce duplicates.
If your are afraid of a negative impact from the Panda update, it is important to compare your current Google ranking stats to your site’s past performance. If you see a decline in organic traffic, then it is time to put your writing cap on and get your content in-shape.