Google Panda 4.0: How Will It Affect Your Site’s SEO?

The Internet is abuzz with Google’s latest algorithm update, Panda 4.0, Google’s latest algorithm change has marketers, webmasters, and business owners alike scrambling to understand how it’s impacting their existing websites and SEO efforts.

Like many of Google’s previous updates, Panda 4.0 emphasizes high-quality websites and content. But what does that actually mean, and how can small and local businesses make sure their websites are up to par so they can continue to stay visible on the Google search engine and generate search traffic? Here are two key things Google Panda 4.0 update focuses on and how to take advantage of them for your business.

Panda Emphasizes Fresh, Quality Content The original Panda algorithm release was aimed at ensuring low-quality websites with scraped or copied content didn’t fare well in the search results. And Panda 4.0 continues to make this a priority. This update, more than just a simple refresh, further emphasizes the need to post frequent, high-quality content to your website, and not just regularly changing your product pages. If you don’t have a plan in place to regularly publish fresh, quality content, it’s more important than ever to do so. The first step is to ensure that your site has a blog that allows you to post content. But even a well-designed blog wont’ help your site if you aren’t using it actively. So, create a process for generating, posting, and sharing new content on a regular basis.  And, make sure the content you post is unique, relevant, and stands out to both search engines and consumers. Why? Panda 4.0 emphasizes the importance of high quality content that’s unique. That means that if you are copying or duplicating content from other sources, posting low-quality, unengaging content, or not generating content at all, you need to rethink your approach to SEO. Set aside time each week to create high-quality, relevant content like how-to articles, lists, videos, and more related to your business and post them to a business blog on your website. If you don’t have time to produce high-quality content on a frequent basis, look for a solution that can provide this for you.

Modern Websites Matter to Google While the content you publish is a huge part of what makes a quality website, there are other factors you need to consider. When it comes to today’s SEO, quality refers to the entire user experience, such as having an intuitive website structure and navigation, a mobile-optimized site, and user-friendly content and metadata, which can all impact how effective your site is at getting indexed by search engines and found by your target audience. If your website is already designed with these elements in mind, then you have no need to worry. But, many small business websites don’t have an intuitive, modern user experience, inherently making it difficult for their sites to drive visits from Google search. Plus, they often contain website content and metadata that are stuffed with keywords, which can hurt them both in search results and in user satisfaction. If your site’s structure or experience are outdated, this may mean that it’s time for a new website design for your small business, so you can make sure you’re meeting Google’s recommendations regardless of the Panda 4.0 update. It’s also time to check your site’s metadata (the content that’s picked up by search engines) as well as your on-page site content to make sure it’s written for your readers using natural language and isn’t stuffed with keywords, as sites making this big mistake could be penalized in the search results with Panda 4.0.

What It All Means to Your Business By helping move low-quality websites down in the search results, the Google Panda 4.0 update may work in favor of local businesses, not against them. That’s because this move will reward those that are truly proving themselves to be a quality, useful resource to consumers. So, ask yourself: are your website and content helping or hurting your SEO? Now is the time to invest in providing regular, quality content that can make your business an asset to local consumers, which will help drive even more visitors from the organic search results to your website.

Tamara Weintraub

Tamara is a content marketing manager at ReachLocal with over 7 years experience in B2B marketing and has a nerd-level affinity for software and technology. She specializes in helping local businesses succeed online, writing and learning about Google, search advertising, SEO, and social media marketing. When she's not writing about online marketing, you can find her watching cult TV and hanging out with her Doberman.

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