Message boards and blogs have been buzzing all month with rumors of Google shenanigans and a possible algorithm update. Earlier this week, Google’s Matt Cutts confirmed the rumors by announcing the release of Google’s Panda Algorithm 4.0.
Who Cares About Pandas?
For those of you who are unaware, Google’s Panda algorithm was designed to filter out low quality sites from Google’s search results. While the original algorithm typically considered spam sites “low quality,” more recent updates have extended that definition to non-spam sites that have below-average content or search engine optimization.
What’s So Special About This Panda?
Not Just Data Refresh
In addition to it’s “point-oh” status, Panda 4.0 is the first Panda algorithm update in a long time to get any press. The announcement, coupled with across-the-board fluctuations in many companies’ website metrics, suggests that this is not just a data refresh like previous updates.
Your Website May Be at Risk
According to Google, approximately 7.5% of queries will be effected by Panda 4.0, meaning many sites will experience heavy ranking and traffic fluctuation. Keep an eye on your Google Analytics and be aware of any changing stats. A dip here or there is nothing to be too worried about, but consistent dropping is a big warning sign: you may want to start rethinking your SEO and content strategies.
How Do You Avoid a Panda Attack?
Anyone whose website has suffered from a Google algorithm update knows how badly it can affect a business. The best way to protect your site from big updates like Panda is to:
- Use “white hat” or good, organic SEO tactics to keep your website from becoming a spam site
- Always build your website and marketing strategies around your audience so you are never completely reliant on Google’s grace
These strategies ensure that even the most hard-core updates will effect your site as little as possible.