New Panda Update Rolling Out, Google Takes Another Stand Against Thin Content

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Pierre Far, Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google UK, announced on Google+ last night that a new Panda update is rolling out. The update began rolling out earlier this week, and Far says he expects to have everything done by sometime next week.

Google has been able to discover additional signals to help Panda more accurately identify low quality content, thanks to user and webmaster feedback. As a result, a greater diversity of high-quality small- and medium-sized sites are said to be ranking higher, which is good news.

Another piece of good news is if you were penalized by Panda previously, then this update means the damage may have been undone if you did all the right things to correct the issue. If you see an increase in traffic by the end of next week, then it’s a good sign this update worked out in your favor.

However, as with any algorithm update, it won’t work out so well for everyone. If you were not hit by Panda before, then this update marks another chance for Google to throttle your site if it detects low quality content. If you see a sharp drop in traffic by the end of next week, there’s a good chance Panda is the culprit.

SEJ Founder Loren Baker took a moment to weigh in on this update and provide his expert analysis:

This new Panda algorithmic update reinforces the fact that Google is not a fan of thin content and that crawl efficiency along with serving clear and direct data messages to Google are becoming more important than ever.

Specializing XML sitemaps, trimming back on thin content and making sure that you are serving Google exactly what they need with minimal effort expended on part of Google-bot needs to be a huge emphasis. More so, also making sure that even in XML sitemaps, crawl priority is properly defined, and old content is not recrawled unless there is specific reason.

The more that SEOs can serve Google basic data without mixed messages (for example conflicts with sitemap, WMT, URL parameter and robots.txt commands) the more Google is going to reward the SEO.

Depending on where you’re located, around 3-5% of queries are affected.

Matt Southern
Matt Southern is the lead news writer at Search Engine Journal. His passion for helping people in all aspects of online marketing flows through in... Read Full Bio
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  • Luckily we haven’t seen any real negative effects of this latest Panda update with any of the sites we monitor. The industry must be fairly sure what is needed to avoid this kind of update by now?

  • Thanks Google, Now my website rank well on Google. All is Well.

  • Hi,

    Each and every update in Google is great. Now panda update is going to identify the low quality content. so we have to careful about creating high quality content. Thanks for the wonderful post.

  • Google decided to clean out its closet. Prior to its birthday.
    Well it’s certainly a good chance for Panda 4.0 victims to get some favor from Google.
    It’s also a great chance for Ebay to regain it’s traffic. Good time to invest in Ebay stocks.

    Thanks for the news, Matt.

  • Chris Sanfilippo

    3-5% of queries is going to make a huge impact on the serps. Maybe this will undo some of the ridiculousness that “Pigeon” caused since the directories dominating the serps right now all contain “thin content”.

  • It is really a nightmare for those who don’t follow the Google quality guidelines. Today, in SEO, content is king. If we are coming up with low and poor quality content, it is really harmful from a user’s point of view. However, it is a great news for every quality website holder, who strongly considers only quality content and wants to engage users through quality work. Thanks to SEJ for updating us.

  • If a site traffic dropped and its keyword ranking still on top what type of penalty the site got. ?

  • So really more of the same from Google.. I think that’s good news! Thanks for decoding.

  • Aaliyah Smith

    No changes for me yet. They are small sites and I have been paying a lot of attention to quality content and to not use grey or black hat techniques. I would expect a blog to rise a little, but it is too early to tell…

  • Excellent article Matt!

    Our staff at 24-7 Press Release Newswire have certainly being a lot more picky and diligent in the content that we send out through our press release distribution. We did see some shifts in ranking (keeping fingers crossed that all will remain as of the 30th) and it would appear being picky has been a good thing!

    It appeared as if something was up (saw some more ranking changes) and you nailed it!

    Thanks Matt!

    24-7 Press Release Newswire

  • Hi Matt

    Thanks for keeping me posted 🙂

    Will this update also be rolled out in Denmark and Europe in generel?

    all the best

  • Good news for those of us that place high emphasis on quality content. As a provider of content it should also make my job easier if site owners pay attention to what Google are doing as getting people to listen when you say they need good content is difficult.


  • Peter Larsen

    Currently seeing slight upward keyword movement. Looking through my ranking data my sites are currently not being hit. (Touches wood) Phew 🙂

  • Saxon

    There was a time that I gave a stuff what Google wanted. But those days are long gone. Once over we used a (any!) search engine to find a website dealing with our subject matter, and from that site we would find links to other similar sites being recommended to us by the webmaster.

    But wait a minute! Google doesn’t earn any $ if we follow links direct from one site to another, does it? “Ah-ha! Let’s scare the webmasters into deleting all their links, then they’ll have to use us all the time 🙂 Oh, and while we’re at it, let’s invent some spurious reasons to penalize websites that don’t carry Adwords…”

    Cynical? Maybe, but how many other webmasters are arriving at the same conclusion? In due course we will all tell Google to get stuffed, then they’ll either have no sites in their index, or we will all be penalized to hell and the playing field will be back to normal because we all have the same penalty.

    • You are right, Saxon. We need many search machines to choose, but not only Google. But how to destroy their monopoly I don’t know.

  • The best thing i see about this update is its always nice to hear that Google takes serious concern of webmaster and user feedbacks…
    Pierre has done a good job as a Trend analyst too..

  • Google like challenges and always bring some innovative and unique concept and updating their search engine. like the latest update Hummingbird &panda.

  • As long as you stick to proper marketing methods that any business would use even if Google didn’t matter then you will be fine. Negative SEO brings negative results in the end, keep the white hat on and bring great results for any business.