Over a month after it was announced, Google has begun the ‘slow’ rollout of the Panda 4.2 update. While many SEO experts have said that not much has changed as of yet, it’s thought that the steady changes should start to take effect soon.
With the update believed to impact on around 2-3% of queries, does this mean your website is safe? Or will you see a change in search engine traffic – either for the better or the worse? It’s important to remember that updates don’t just penalise, they also reward the most reputable sites… Let’s take a look at what the experts are saying…
Panda 4.2 Refresh
Although we’ve been using the word update, Google are keen to stress that the algorithms aren’t being updated. In fact, Panda 4.2 is actually a refresh. This means that signals from Panda 4.1 are being reapplied, as opposed to new criteria being tested. If you were impacted by any of the last Panda updates (most notably in May 2014 and September 2014), then it’s too late to make changes this time round. As the slow rollout continues over the ‘coming months’, we will more clearly begin to see who has been impacted.
Will my website be affected?
At this stage, it’s too early to know who will and who won’t be affected. However, as this is a refresh, it is likely that we’ll see similar patterns as with the 4.1 update. This means that smaller and medium websites will take preference over the big name blue-chips – as long as these websites are of a ‘premium’ quality. This has been the key focus for Google throughout every Panda update and refresh. Websites that are well structured, mobile-friendly (aka responsive), and provide high quality, relevant content are receiving preferential treatment. As long as you have been focusing on delivering quality on your website, then it’s likely you’ll be positively impacted – and vice versa. However, as we said, it is far too early in the game to tell. Currently, we don’t know whether the full refresh will take two months or ten months…
What can I do?
Unfortunately, there’s not a lot any of us can do right now. We’re in the hands of Google until the rollout has been completed. As mentioned, it’s too late to make any changes this time around. However, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be prepared for the next update, whenever that may be. It’s always a good idea to keep your content up-to-date and fresh – and always to try and put yourself in the shoes of your customers and prospects. There has been a sharp focus on providing high-quality answers to users’ search queries. Many of the previous Panda updates have proven this. There’s no point in twiddling our thumbs as we sit in Google refresh limbo. If 4.2 is replicating many of the signals from 4.1, then we know what they’re looking for. Here’s a quick refresher:
It’s not just about writing ‘good’ content or ‘SEO’ content. Google Panda is about writing relevant and informative content.
Remember to cite your sources and have off-site references. This is key if you’re putting together high-quality guides or articles.
Don’t repeat keywords. We’ve long known that keyword stuffing was off limits. Google Panda would prefer you didn’t repeat them, full stop.
Make sure you have reputable business info on every page.
So, while we all lie in wait with bated breath, Google will continue to slowly roll out Panda 4.2. Will any of us be impacted? We’ll find out in the “coming months.” For now, focus on providing that high quality and relevant content. Just in time for Panda 4.3..!