Google Panda 4.0 – what should I change about my current SEO strategy?

Key Takeaways:

  • Places a more intelligent emphasis on content quality to provide results of greater relevance.
  • Reduces the visibility of copied or unoriginal content in organic results.
  • Operates as a platform for future changes to PageRank – a seemingly increasing weight on the relevance and quality of content; preventing the use of content just for content’s sake.


The Quest for Quality Content

First implemented in February 2011, Panda was released with the intention of increasing the quality of results on Google’s Search Engine Response Pages (SERPs). In essence, the algorithm attempts to mathematically define ‘good quality’ and ‘low quality’ content, producing SERPs that can best reflect this.

Panda 4.0 will reward original, relevant and valuable content in an attempt to reduce the effect that those ‘exploiting’ SEO have on organic results. Roughly 66% of people believe the top organic result to indicate a market-leading organisation, rarely venturing past page one of a query. As a result of those playing the ‘SEO game’, content simply copied from other sources or of little use to the end user’s search was commonplace amongst top organic results.

Google’s Contempt for Poor Content

Panda 4.0 appears to work as a ranking mechanism, attempting to return results of increased relevance to a user’s specific search in terms of actual site content. By filtering originality and substantiality in this way, Google can increase the visibility of content that offers a wider and more accurate response to user queries. Panda 4.0 is believed to impact between 3-7.5% of English queries.

The update is widely viewed as a concerted effort to increase the importance of a webpage’s content in search engine indexing. This slow shift away from backlinks is acknowledged by Matt Cutts (Google’s Head of Webspam). Cutts outlines that whilst backlinks remain important in identifying a page’s credibility, they do not necessarily provide the greatest benefit to the end user; Panda 4.0 aims to create SERPs which will provide such benefit. Similarly, Cutts alludes to more ‘conversational’ searching that is more intelligent than just the repetition of key words and phrases.

Panda and the future of SEO

Panda 4.0 will take a softer approach than previous iterations, laying essential frameworks for future amendments to Google. It is suggested that this will allow smaller organisations – with smaller budgets – to compete with the giants who may have previously dominated Google’s organic results.

Panda updates can be met with trepidation within the SEO community as algorithms and their respective weightings are not published. This can cause an organisation’s digital marketing communications to be heavily affected by updates, with some sites experiencing dramatic decreases in search engine visibility almost overnight.

Google, SEO forums and SEO journals all offer the same advice for avoiding potential visibility damage at the hands of Panda 4.0; publish only high-quality content to the standards present in high-quality magazines or news sites. Alongside this, the continued use of social media to build evolving links and the removal of duplicate content will aid attempts to future-proof against Panda 4.0.

Atelier and Panda 4.0

At Atelier, our understanding of digital marketing best practices allow us to prevent Panda 4.0 damage to our clients. Firmly believing that prevention is better than cure, we have long-focused on quality content marketing, producing interesting and innovative content that always remains relevant to our clients’ industries.

We research and manufacture website content ourselves, proficiently managing on-site blogs, off-site posting and maintaining strong social media relations. This allows for a fluidity and originality of content that is unrivalled by many agencies, resulting in optimal search engine visibility for all of our clients. With numerous proven successes in producing content across all platforms, we operate at the very pinnacle of SEO techniques and are fully-committed to ensuring this remains so.

Our approach to relevancy and quality is also clearly present in our other SEO practises. When link-building, we create natural links with reputable sources that safely adhere to Google’s guidelines. We actively search for sites whose content is only of high, beneficial quality; thus allowing for the maintenance and improvement of search engine rankings.

We are currently working with organisations and other agencies alike to help enhance their content marketing strategy and reduce the risk of Google penalties. If you would like an audit of your current SEO and content strategy, or would like to discuss how we could work together on a new strategy, then contact us.