Google Rolls Out Panda 4.0 & Payday Loan 2.0 Updates

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Google Rolls Out Panda 4.0 & Payday Loan 2.0 Updates

Over the past 12 hours, we’ve had confirmation from Google that they’ve rolled out two web spam updates; Panda 4.0 and Payday Loan 2.0. Panda 4.0 was confirmed by Matt Cutts on Twitter, whilst Payday Loan 2.0 was initially announced via Search Engine Land and later tweeted by Matt.

Of course, as with all major algorithm updates, there’s been a wealth of speculation over the weekend, as SEOs and marketers from across the globe started reporting movement on the SERP’s for their and their clients’ sites. There was first rumors of an update early last week, however Google initially denied any update last Tuesday, May 13th.

Panda 4.0

Panda 4.0 looks to be the ‘softer update‘ which was first discussed back in March and it has been stated that this update affects different languages to different extents, however in English, the affect is ~7.5% of queries.

Utilizing Google’s usual algorithm numbering system, it’s almost certainly the case that this is a new update to the algorithm, as opposed to a data refresh, especially given that Google now refresh Panda monthly as part of the main algorithm. There’s already been accounts of sites previously hit by Panda seeing significant recoveries and, as such, it looks that the update has indeed been a little softer and more generous to sites, especially those previously affected.

Payday Loan 2.0

Google first launched their Payday Loan Algorithm last June and it’s been expected that a second update would follow for some time. This update is intended to specifically target ‘very spammy queries’ which typically get associated with excessive web spam, primarily payday loans, insurance, accident claims and the like. You’ll almost certainly be familiar with low quality sites appearing for these type of queries and it’s Google’s intention to prevent this from happening.

A Google Spokesperson stated on the update:

“Over the weekend we began rolling out a new algorithmic update. The update was neither Panda nor Penguin — it was the next generation of an algorithm that originally rolled out last summer for very spammy queries.”

Again, this looks to be an international rollout, which affects different languages to different extents, with English queries being affected by 0.2% to a noticeable degree.

Were You Affected?

Was your site or any of your client’s sites affected by either of these updates? Either positively or negatively? As with all updates, there’s winners and losers, however sharing your experience with the industry allows everyone to pull together and analyse the true extent of how they’re affecting sites.


Featured image via Shutterstock

James Brockbank

James Brockbank

Managing Director at Digitaloft
James Brockbank is an experienced UK based digital marketing consultant and the Managing Director of digital agency Digitaloft, who specialise in creating high-performance content marketing... Read Full Bio
James Brockbank
James Brockbank
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  • Karan Rawat

    After “Payday Loan 2.0 update” 21st may is definitely a “Judgement Day” for spammers.

    • James Brockbank

      Yes I think you’re right! Have you yourself seen many sites affected by either update?

  • Andrew

    My site has increased in rankings, I think it hurt my competitors who I have been watching (they had spammy backlinks)

    • Jasa Bikin

      I hope benefit from this update
      I tried to perform in accordance with the desired optimization google
      it is my opinion

    • James Brockbank

      What industry is your site in Andrew, if you don’t mind me asking?

  • Aaron Kantrowitz

    I find it interesting that Google would target PayDay Loan sites in particular. I wonder what other niches they may go after.

    • James Brockbank

      Whilst we don’t know for sure, previously discussed industries which this update targets are things like pornography, pharmaceuticals, finance etc…those which often return very spammy results.

  • W. A. Jagsch (@Texter_SEO)

    Forget about links and seo spam. The core value of good user experience lies in high quality content. Great websites do not get penalized. The get free links for there great content. I try to fucos on this part. Producing something great for your community will bring great results. Quality Content is the key to seo sucess. Linkbuilding is not a good seo tactic anymore.

  • Paul Steven Macklin

    “it looks that the update has indeed been a little softer and more generous to site’s,”

    …generous to site’s what? AHHH APOSTOPHE!

    • Kelsey Jones

      AHH! I hate that too. I fixed it. Can I blame panda bears and payday loans for this one?

      • Garry

        i have very small blog i think it does not matter .. my traffic is increased 100% from last 3-4 days

  • Ron

    I have noted that several of my clients had a brief fall-off right after the change, but all recovered to normal levels 3-5 days later. The change could be coincidental in some cases (weekend drop off from the first week of really nice weather!) but it certainly saw a trend…

    • Kelsey Jones

      Same here. It always seems to go back up for those deserving of it! 🙂

  • Gay Aida Dumaguing

    2 Websites that I’ve handled went a bit down to some keywords that we used to reign #1 ranking. But the weird thing is, the one ranking #1 today landed to an error page.

  • kevin pike

    OMG another algo update from Matt Cutts during SMX Advanced!

    Focus group of one here, but I feel like this is starting to get predictable.