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Is Google’s Panda Update Helping Small Businesses?

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Early last week, Google pushed out a couple of big algorithm updates: a new version of the so-called “Payday Loans” update and a new generation of the famous/infamous Panda update. Google has been talking up the latter for a while, saying that it would benefit smaller sites and businesses, and be gentler overall. Has it lived up to this promise?

Are you a small business affected by Google’s Panda update? How has it impacted your site? Let us know in the comments.

Google’s Matt Cutts spoke at the Search Marketing Expo in March, saying that Google was working on the “next generation” of Panda, which would be softer and more friendly to small sites and businesses. Barry Scwhartz, who was in attendance recapped what he said:

Cutts explained that this new Panda update should have a direct impact on helping small businesses do better.

One Googler on his team is specifically working on ways to help small web sites and businesses do better in the Google search results. This next generation update to Panda is one specific algorithmic change that should have a positive impact on the smaller businesses.

Interestingly, we do seem to be seeing more people claiming they’ve done well with the latest Panda update compared to past updates. If it’s really helping sites this much, that bodes well for the future, because it looks like whatever Google has done with Panda will be carried forward for the foreseeable future.



PerformanceIN says it’s helping smaller affiliate sites. Sylvia Nankivell writes:

In the past, Google’s updates may have felt somewhat unjust to some smaller affiliate sites, and there has been much talk of the magical protection of the big brand. I have heard complaints from affiliates with pages of in-depth, rich content, losing out to big brands with a page containing only a short sentence on it.

Perhaps this new Panda 4.0 update is in response to these sorts of complaints. It seems that now, big name brands, as well as the smaller businesses, need to consider how information rich all of their pages and directories are. If they don’t, then they are in danger of joining the Panda 4 ‘losers list’.

We haven’t heard about any planned layoffs from the latest update yet, which is a good sign (though we recently heard about layoffs from an update that took place over a year and a half ago).

Some sites seem to be making recoveries with Panda 4.0 after being hit by previous Panda updates.

One of our readers commented this week, “My site was hit by the first ever Panda update and only just recovered from last week’s update. So this weaker Panda is confusing..is my content weak but you’re letting me off or was the algo wrong on the first place?”

In case you missed it, SearchMetrics recently put out is obligatory Panda winners and losers lists for 4.0. These things are never a hundred percent accurate, but they do give you an idea of some sites that saw significant movement when the update was rolled out. eBay was among the top losers, but that ended up being a manual penalty rather than Panda, apparently.

Named winners include Glassdoor.com, emediinehealth.com, medterms.com, yourdictionary.com, shopstyle.com, zimbio.com, myrecipes.com, couponcabin.com, buzzfeed.com, consumeraffairs.com, wordpress.com, thinkexist.com, onhealth.com, alternativeto.net, whosdatedwho.com, reverso.net, wikimedia.org, dogtime.com, findthebest.com, eatingwell.com, quotegarden.com, goodhousekeeping.com, everydayhealth.com, simplyhired.com, momswhothink.com, similarsites.com, southernliving.com, theknot.com, allaboutvision.com, openculture.com, babyzone.com, tasteofhome.com, gotquestions.org, movie4k.to, wmagazine.com, ycharts.com, historyplace.com, rcn.com, salary.com, skpdic.com, mediawiki.org, oodle.com, abbreviations.com, homes.com, spokeo.com, hlntv.com, sparkpeople.com, hayneedle.com, and emedtv.com.

It’s a pretty interesting range of types of sites. It’s good to know that BuzzFeed has won not only the Facebook Panda update but also the Google Panda update.

Search Engine Roundtable recently ran a poll asking how Panda 4.0 impacted readers’ sites. Over 1,200 people responded. Over 15% said they had recovered from a previous Panda penalty. Over 19% said their rankings increased, but that they were never hurt by Panda. Over 23% said their rankings remained the same, but they were never previously hurt by Panda. Nearly 27% said they were never previously hurt by Panda, but saw their rankings decrease this time. About 11% said they didn’t recover from a previous Panda penalty.

The poll doesn’t take into account business size, but it’s probably safe to assume that a good amount of those who participated are from or represent small businesses.

Do you think Panda 4.0 is good for small sites? Let us know in the comments.

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Is Google’s Panda Update Helping Small Businesses?
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