Regular pandas eat bamboo, but Google's latest algorithm update Panda 4.0 wants to eat fresh and unique website content. Learn what it means for your site.

Google's Panda 4.0 Update Wants You to Feed It Fresh Content

Fri May 23, 2014

The Panda 4.0 update was announced and set free this week. Whenever Google launches an update to their algorithm, SEOs, SEMs, and content marketers all sleep a little worse that night, and this one was major. When Panda was first released in 2011, it was an effort to start weeding out poor quality content from search results, and rewarding websites that offered something not just of surface relevance, but true value.

The preliminary findings show that major sites like eBay that have taken a lazy approach and automated the creation of search engine bait pages are taking a serious hit in their rankings, Regular pandas eat bamboo, but Panda 4.0, wants to eat fresh, original, high quality website content.

Even an early look at Panda winners and losers sends a very clear message: content aggregation, spammy link pages, and poor quality content will suffer, while plentiful, fresh, and valuable content will be rewarded.

What Does Panda 4.0 Mean for Content Marketers?

Perfecting your SEO always seems like a moving target, and with many technical, under-the-hood aspects, marketers often rely on third parties or software to improve their SEO game.

As Google demands increasingly good quality content in order to earn good search placement, content marketing and SEO will need to draw closer and develop content optimization as a joint discipline to stay ahead of the game. This will be a combination of good SEO writing, creating reader-centric content, and engaging more people in your organization to become content contributors.

Updates like Panda signal a growing emphasis on content creation, and should be a reminder to marketers that just like having a website that performs well on mobile devices, a robust content strategy is no longer a nice-to-have, but absolutely essential.

4 Things You Should Do Right Now

Panda 4.0 was announced on May 20, and to ensure you make the most of this update, here are some important next steps.

  1. Check your Google Analytics account and annotate it for the release, then watch your organic traffic in the coming weeks to get a quick read on whether you’re seeing significant changes
  2. Conduct a quick audit of your content, especially looking for duplicate content, pages with a poorly balanced link-to-content ratio, and check your page titles and meta descriptions to ensure they are unique, accurate, and relevant to your audience
  3. Review your editorial calendar and other marketing to-dos and see how you can increase frequency of publishing and grow your library of original content
  4. Leverage your content management software to add more content creators into your editorial workflow and help them produce well-structured, SEO-friendly content

Every major update to Google’s algorithm is about making it the best and most powerful search engine in the world by helping it provide the best possible results. Ultimately, it’s about what’s doing for the end-users, the searchers and readers, and if your content is optimized for your audience, it’s likely that this iteration of Panda will declare you a winner.

Karo Kilfeather, content marketing manager at Percussion Software
Karo Kilfeather
Content Marketing Manager | Percussion Software

Karo was born in Poland, and learned to speak English by watching "Saved by the Bell" reruns during her first summer in the U.S., which has left her unable to go through life without occasionally breaking the fourth wall. As Percussion's content marketing manager, she oversees and creates content that drives website traffic, engages followers, and helps fill the marketing and sales funnel. She writes about content management, content marketing, SEO, social media and web design, and how to make it all less complicated.

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