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SEOs are scratching their heads. Web forums are reporting higher levels of chatter about a potential Google algorithm change, affectionately referred to as a softer Panda update. I’ll recap what other’s have seen and offer my opinion as to what it means.
Softer Panda Update Chatter
If you’re not familiar with Google Panda, let me provide a little bit of history. Panda targets spammy content (keyword stuff drivel that adds no value). Google cracked down on websites hard by releasing this specific changes to the algorithm related to content. In September 2013 they announced that most offending websites were demoted in organic search. Therefore, they integrated Panda into their “normal” tweaks and updates. And, these tweaks are aimed at helping smaller business do better in organic search. However, some SEOs think that a softer Panda update was released in late March.
- Movement both up and down on Search Engine Results Pages
- Wide fluctuations in rankings for sites with thin or poor quality content
- Changes to both small businesses and big brands
Another Potential Cause
Barry Schwartz, CEO of RustyBrick and frequent contributor to Search Engine Roundtable, suggests that a softer Panda update isn’t behind the wild SEO changes some websites are experiencing. He wrote:
Truth is, my internal signals from all of this makes me believe there wasn’t a major algorithm update but I can be wrong. I just think there is a lot of manual actions going out this past week or so and a lot of SEOs and webmasters disavowing a lot of links, thus shaking up the search results.
According to Matt Cutts, Google initiates 400,000+ manual actions every month. These are websites that have been spanked due to unnatural linking profiles and other tactics that go against their quality guidelines.
Let’s think about that stat again. 400k websites a month. that’s 4.8 billion websites in a year! Granted that many of these websites are crap… they get a spanking, close down the url and pop up elsewhere to game the system before Google shuts them down again.
Wow… wouldn’t be easier (and cheaper) to just follow White Hat SEO rules? That’s what we use to avoid a tumultuous SEO ride. That way you don’t have to worry about a softer Panda update or other cat/mouse games that Google plays with cheaters.
Did you experience a blip? Do you think it was the softer Panda update?
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