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The Google Panda 4.2 roll out begins – It’s now a waiting game

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Businesses which have a high ranking on Google will be hoping that the internet search engine’s Panda 4.2 update will not impact authority, while those which have made alterations and repairs after being hit by previous editions will look for better visibility.

Google is notoriously cloak and dagger about what can be expected in its algorithm updates, spawning hundreds of blogs across the web predicting what might feature.

Rumours are that the update will take months to pull roll out, meaning businesses will have a while to wait to see if there is any impact – negative or positive.

Google last moved the goal posts in October 2014 though Panda 4.1, with Panda itself dating back to February 2011 when version 1.0 was unveiled.

Back in October, Google went into detail about 4.1 by saying: “Based on user (and webmaster!) feedback, we’ve been able to discover a few more signals to help Panda identify low-quality content more precisely. This results in a greater diversity of high-quality small- and medium-sized sites ranking higher, which is nice.”

Earlier in 2015, Lead Generation Websites owner Rob Keating produced, for Real Business, a practical guide on keeping your web content Google friendly. He started by revealing the first metic used to calculate how high-quality a piece of content is would be its length. He then looked at originality of content, modality of content and positioning of content. Have a look at the original article if you’d like more detail.

A practical guide to keeping your web content Google friendly

Panda was designed to reduce rankings for low-quality sites which are low-value add for users. Essentially, as Shané Schutte said in a March 2014 post, the update is all about assessing overall website quality.

Google Penguin came out in April 2012 as a tweak to Panda. The underlying idea behind the update was to penalise and decrease sites breaching Google Webmaster Guidelines. And although this algorithm’s primary job is focussing on unnatural links, the Penguin update was launched with the intention of better catching sites deemed to be spamming its search results.

Looking at the most recent update to Google Panda, Andy Barr, head yeti at 10 Yetis Digital, said: “The business community is watching on with great expectation with the news that Google is finally rolling out its Panda algorithm update after nearly a year of waiting. Those companies dependent on their website ranking well in Google will be having a nervous time whilst waiting to see how their sites will be affected and those who have previously been negatively affected will be hoping that all the months of repair work and fixes will have paid off.

“Similarly, there will be lots of twitchy search, social and digital agency MD’s, nervously monitoring search tools like SearchMetrics and Moz, hoping that the advice they have been giving their clients has been positive. This update really can make or break a business and the fall out will be interesting to watch.”

The frustrating thing about Google updates is that the search giant rarely gives away any kind of clue as to what will be included. Instead, it is left to SEO experts, in the months after, to take apart the algorithm update and determine what is new and what has remained the same.

However, a good place to keep up to date is Matt Cutts’ blog. Cutts is head of Google’s Webspam team, and has been with the company since 2000. He often does a bit of jargon busting and is pretty good about confirming or denying update rumours when they surface.

Companies in today’s 21st century economy cannot afford to ignore good web practice. And when it comes to succeeding online, it by and large starts and ends with positioning on Google. So while we may have to wait until the end of the summer, or beyond, to know what the real impact of Panda 4.2 will be, you can have a look at a number of articles we’ve put together on staying ahead of the competition.

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