The latest algorithmic update from Google – Panda 4.0 finally rolled out yesterday as confirmed by Matt Cutts, the head of Google’s spam team.
Google is rolling out our Panda 4.0 update starting today.
— Matt Cutts (@mattcutts) May 20, 2014
Panda has been consistently updated over the months since it was released, heavily influencing the SEO community to focus its efforts in creating decent worthwhile content for websites. Normally, Google do not formally announce their updates, not unless it has big ramifications on a large proportion of search queries.
Google Panda is essentially the function that assesses the quality of the content on your website by penalising those who had previously used poor quality content to rise quickly in the rankings. We covered a number of Google core algorithm elements in a previous blog post, but to clarify, Panda was first introduced in 2011 and sought to penalise websites with duplicate and/or spammy content. Soon after it was released, a number of high profile news outlets saw major downturns in ranking, whilst sites with original well written content started ranking better.
The release of Panda 4.0 has been suspected for some time, with some search engine experts picking up on the early signs.
The update also coincides with the release of Payday Loans 2.0, a protocol to penalise black hat techniques looking to utilise verticals with spammy links, thereby gaining a fast rise in search engines. It used to be the case, that black hat techniques could gain a high amount of links, gained through unnatural to Google’s search engine architecture. Gaining a boom to their online visibility, Google would rectrify the situation, but by this stage it was usually too late since the companies had already profited. Payday Loans 2 hopes to slow down these fast risers.
The specifics of these changes are likely to be better understood over the next couple of days as Panda is updated sequentially.