Has Panda 4.1 chewed up your search rankings?

Every now and then, Google issues a new algorithm update, designed to ensure that those performing online searches are shown only the most relevant results first. On 27th September, came just the latest of these updates – officially the 27th update to Panda, or as it has become informally known, Panda 4.1, given that the 26th update was referred to as Panda 4.0 by Google itself.

The impact of Panda 4.1

The original Panda search filter, for those who are unaware, first surfaced back in February 2011, and aimed to tackle low quality content. As for what makes Panda 4.1 different, Google has said that it has picked out some further signals that help Panda to more precisely identify low quality content. The search giant added that this allowed for improved rankings among high quality small and medium-sized sites.

Who has been affected?

The “slow rollout” of Panda 4.1 has been taking place over the last week or so, with about 3-5% of search queries being affected, depending on location. So if your site traffic has dropped noticeably in recent days, you might just have discovered the culprit.

Looking across the pond for the first signs of the impact in the United States, Searchmetric has identified news, content and download sites as the biggest winners, while it appears that providers of games, lyrics and some medical content are comparatively missing out, due to their very thin and far-from-unique content.

How to react to lost ground

This naturally brings us onto the question of what to do if your own site has been adversely impacted. For your answer to that, you only need to look back to when Panda was first released, and the advice of Matt Cutts – Google’s head of search engine spam – that site owners should aim to write high quality content at a level equivalent to a published book or popular magazine.

But even if your site has really taken the brunt of the latest Panda update, remember that it also represents an invaluable opportunity to look over your current site content and make those changes that’ll serve you well for the rest of the lifetime of Panda.

After all, just look at how those who carried out such a review at the time of Panda 4.0’s debut are now faring. Their sites are now thriving, having enjoyed a significant increase in traffic. With the right tweaks to your site content and SEO strategy with the help of ourselves here at SEO Local, your site could be the next to reap major benefits.