Google Panda Update: 5/20/14

If you’ve been noticing some changes in your search position, it appears that the likely cause is a new Panda update from the boys at Big G. On Tuesday night, Matt Cutts – Webspam Guru and enemy of internet marketers and black-hat SEOs across the web announced Panda 4.0 starting that day. Though we’ve seen a lot of changes over the past few days, Mozcast showed 98 degrees yesterday, sign of a very high amount of changes being reported in their search engine results metrics.

Panda updates are typically known to target a few specific metrics, often things like low-quality sites with few pages and/or short length pages that generally have advertisements and/or affiliate links. While the typical target is one that most on the internet would consider “spam” – algorithms are not infallible and often and up hitting smaller local sites that are usually small (in the 1-5 page range).

Google is known to update it’s search ranking algo monthly, or even sometimes daily. However, those updates aren’t usually announced to the world or given a number, such as the “4.0” release updated yesterday. With the public announcement of the newest Panda, Google has most certainly tipped it’s hand that this particular Panda version is likely to be bigger and badder than most monthly updates. Search engine watchdog Searchengineland estimates this update to affect about 7.5% of all English language searches.

In additional search engine ranking news, Google also announced that they had rolled out even further updates of it’s “Payday Loan Algorithm”, a non-Panda update that specifically targets specific industries (Payday loans, Phrama, Gambling, etc) that are more prone to large amounts of affiliate spam, often found on internet forums and blog commenting.

What does this mean for Local SEO?

If there was ever a need for small businesses to create content, this should be it. Many local business sites are very small, using their website almost as if it were a print flyer putting any and all information they can possibly place on a single page. Local SEO experts have been advising clients for a while that a more filled out site with pages for each service, location, or even in some cases employees, provides not only a better user experience, but a better search engine presence.

It is also more important than ever to vet your SEO provider before allowing them to work on your project.  With the proliferation of link scraping and auto-posting tools like Scrapebox, SE Nuke, and GSA SER – more and more people are starting “SEO companies” and running tools in the background while collecting customer money without actually knowing what they are doing. The typical type of links created automatically by software are the ones often targeted by updates like Panda and Penguin.

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