A couple weeks ago, Google started rolling out an update to how they rank websites. Google does these updates fairly regularly, in order to improve their search results and catch more bad guys.

Major updates to how Google ranks sites (their algorithms) are given names and numbers. This most recent update is called Panda 4.0, and it affects around 7.5% of English language searches. Other algorithms are named after animals as well, for example Penguin and Hummingbird. Such nice names for changes that caused the traffic to to drop by 70% in search engine visibility in one day, or that caused Ebay to drop by 50% in one day.

The Panda algorithm targets sites with “duplicate,” “thin,” and “low quality” content. Plenty of people will give you advice on what constitutes thin content, and you may think that because your site has a lot of great content (such as is the case for many of our magazine clients), you’re not at risk of being impacted by this latest update: but beware… Google is not perfect.

Things that Google may consider to be “thin” content include syndicated content, inefficiently organized content, press releases, and content that doesn’t serve a clear purpose on your site.

All of these are things that I see all the time on respectable websites. However, because they aren’t generally what people are searching for, updates to Panda may cause these sections of websites to rank lower in search results.

Especially for websites that make money off of their traffic, it’s extremely important to stay on top of what’s happening with your traffic and to continually evaluate your search engine positions in order to optimize them for continually evolving algorithms.

Want to learn more about how search engines work and how they rank your site? Sign up for our online course: “Achieving Top Search Engine Placements.” Want to learn more about how your site is ranked on Google, and get some free advice on how it could be improved and how we could improve it?

Contact us today to schedule a free website audit!

Thank you for reading and have a great day!


Chris Minnick

p.s. The first session of our new class, Achieving Top Search Engine Positions, just started. Find out more, and Sign up now!

p.s. A new session of our mobile app class, Creating Mobile Apps with HTML5 also just started! Click here to read reviews and find out more!

Penguins and Pandas, and More! Oh my!
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