Google Panda 4.0 update rocks SEO; affects web giants like eBay

Google rolled out a new version of its Panda algorithm (supposedly, version 4.0) on May 20/21. This latest algorithm update has reportedly resulted in severely reducing the visibility in search results of several large global web properties including and (as reported by Statements from Google’s head of web spam team, Matt Cutts stated that the new algorithm is likely to affect about 7.5% of all English language queries. The impact of Panda 4.0 is much more far-reaching than what it seems on the outside; some businesses in the US that are reliant on search engine traffic for their revenues are taking a hit on their stock prices and market capitalisation as a result.

Coincidentally, this major update was made almost a year to the day since the roll-out of Google Penguin update on May 22, 2013, which was one of the most devastating algorithm updates for websites around the world in terms of loss of traffic from Google. The first major Panda update was released in April 2011 and since then several updates and data refreshes have been released from time to time. Last year, Google divulged that they will be releasing such refreshes more frequently, even as much as once a month.

While the Penguin update was primarily targeted at penalising websites with unnatural and undesirable in-bound link profiles, the latest version of Panda (as was the case with previous iterations of this algorithm) is aimed at weeding out lower-quality content or penalising websites with ‘manipulative’ content. Consequently, it seems that many content aggregators have been hit the hardest following the update. At the same time, it seems surprising that some of the websites that have allegedly lost search visibility had a reputation for being useful sites offering reliable and good quality content. A clearer picture regarding the exact impact of this update will emerge in the next few weeks. will be analysing both the winners and losers from this algorithm update and present the analysis in the near future. Watch this space as we also attempt to gather intelligence about the impact of Panda 4.0 on large Indian web properties.