Google Panda 4.2 Update– Should You Be Worried?

Updates to Google's AlgorithmsOkay, it seems Google has just launched their Panda 4.2 update.

For those who aren’t quite sure what Panda is about, it’s a search filter Google uses to prevent sites with poor or low-grade content from moving-on-up in the search results. It was launched in 2011 and Google has made periodic updates to it since. The latest is the 4.2.

According to Search Engine Land, Panda 4.1 launched September 25, 2014, making it the 28th update. Since then, there have been a couple of Panda hiccups, but no official update until now.

I remember the Panda 4.1 update. It caused my rankings to drop.

Not that I intentionally did anything wrong, but I did have a two problem areas on my site:

1. I used permission-based reprints with NO new lead-in content. According to Google’s Quality Guidelines, this blogging practice “scraping,” and should be avoided.
https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/35769?hl=en&ref_topic=6002025

To my defense here, a year earlier Matt Cutts (an authority with Google at the time) said reprints were fine to use. So, it’s clear that you need to keep current with Google’s guidelines.

2. I had changed the focus of the site a few years earlier and didn’t take the time and effort needed to remove the old content from the site. In Google’s ‘design and content’ guidelines, you need to “write pages that clearly and accurately describe your content.”

I’ve since taken care of these problems, but am in the process of switching my blog to my paid-hosted WordPress CMS (content management system) site, The Article Writing Doctor. The reason for the move, is my current blog, Writing and Marketing, is on Blogger. If you’re a serious marketer, you need your own hosted site, and it should be using WordPress as the CMS.

Okay, back to Panda 4.2.

According to all the data available, the update will not hit like 4.1 did. Instead of a tidal wave, it’ll be a slow and steady stream over the next few months critiquing sites on their content and ranking them accordingly.

This is good news for those who were hit with Panda 4.1 and have since corrected any ‘quality content’ problems on their sites. It should mean you’ll get better search rankings again.

This is bad news for those who didn’t get hit before, but who actually deserved to. Google will be coming around again, taking another look.

Tip: Don’t assume you’re not doing anything wrong. I’m an ethical content marketer and still did things wrong in ignorance.

Best to be sure things are in order:

It’s always wise to analyze the content on your site.

Make sure it’s high-quality
Make sure it’s information-rich
Make sure it’s original (if you’re using reprints, have an original and valuable lead-in to the content and link to the source article)
Make sure all the content on your site is up to date – stale information won’t get you far with Google (This also means keeping your copyright information current.)
Make sure your title and ALT attributes are descriptive and focused in regard to the content

I hope these tips help you optimize your content for the best rankings possible.

References:
Google Panda 4.2 Is Here
http://searchengineland.com/google-panda-4-2-is-here-slowly-rolling-out-after-waiting-almost-10-months-225850
Google Panda Update – Everything We Know About Panda 4.2
http://www.thesempost.com/google-panda-update-everything-we-know-about-panda-4-2/
The Google Panda Algorithm, Your Website, and Duplicate Content
http://www.karencioffiwritingandmarketing.com/2014/11/the-google-panda-algorithm-your-website.html

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