Google is very regular in updating it’s relatively new algorithm, Panda, since it launch. Panda has been updated every few months and because of that reason Google announced that it won’t announce the release of Panda updates. But Matt Cutts (Google’s head of webspam) tweeted today, i.e. on 21 May 2014 that Google Rolled out Panda 4.0
Google Rolled out Panda 4.0
Google is rolling out our Panda 4.0 update starting today.
— Matt Cutts (@mattcutts) May 20, 2014
This past weekend we started rolling out a ranking update for very spammy queries: http://t.co/NpUZRqpnBI
— Matt Cutts (@mattcutts) May 21, 2014
Since this time Panda has been updated to a new version thus we expect lots of algorithm update rather than just data being refreshed, indicating some major changes in web rankings. Google told search engine land that this Panda 4.0 update affects different languages to a different degrees. It affects 7.5% of english queries to such an extent that a user might notice.
Matt Cutts previously hinted that editorial ads (payed advertisement on news websites) might get hit and it is assumed that this update covers that part. Link spammers will also get major slap in their SERP rankings. Matt also warned that they might cover the users who use blackhat SEO for fast Google rankings. Host clustering and host clouding have also been improved.
Another major update that Panda 4.0 covers is what is known as “Payday loans”. According to Matt Cutts-
We get a lot of great feedback from outside of Google, so, for example, there were some people complaining about searches like payday loans on Google.co.uk. So we have two different changes that try to tackle those kinds of queries in a couple different ways. We can’t get into too much detail about exactly how they work, but I’m kind of excited that we’re going from having just general queries be a little more clean to going to some of these areas that have traditionally been a little more spammy, including for example, some more pornographic queries, and some of these changes might have a little bit more of an impact on those kinds of areas that are a little more contested by various spammers and that sort of thing.
Some of the major websites such as ebay have been hit. According to Moz
Over the course of about three days, eBay fell from #6 in our Big 10 to #25. Change is the norm for Google’s SERPs, but this particular change is clearly out of place, historically speaking. eBay has been #6 in our Big 10 since March 1st, and prior to that primarily competed with Twitter.com for either the #6 or #7 place. The drop to #25 is very large. Overall, eBay has gone from right at 1% of the URLs in our data set down to 0.28%, dropping more than two-thirds of the ranking real-estate they previously held.
Users of many blackhat forums have been complaining that they have suffered ranking drops while other claims to have increased traffic and ranking.
Comments from the webmasterworld forum-
I run a payday loan site and have seen pretty dramatic increases since Saturday, the first time I have had a positive update from an algorithm change. Traffic is up over 100% from the week before.
I’m seeing a mix of results and so far nothing dramatic.
I am pulling out my hair. I’ve worked hard the past few months to overcome the Panda from March and was hoping to come out of it with the changes I made. Absolutely no change at all in the SERPS. I guess I’ll have to start looking for work once again.
Comments from cpaelities forum
I have been monitoring different niches and seen sites dropping a lot.
Time to evolve.
Is this update is the cause why my rank 7 niches go down to 11 – nowhere?
my traffic has doubled yesterday and today, may be panda?
As you can see from the different comments mentioned above, many users have seen their traffic doubled while many others have seen massive drops. It all depends on the content of the website, if your content is unique with white or gray hat SEO techniques used, then most of the users have seen major increase in their ranking and traffic.
What are your views on this update? Has your site increased its ranking or has it been penalized? Please share your views.