New Google Panda Update Should Help Small Sites

Chris CrumSearch

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There's officially a new Panda update rolling out. If you have a small or medium-sized site, Google is suggesting this could potentially help you, though we've heard that before.

Are you seeing any effects from the new Panda update? Good or bad? Let us know in the comments.

Google doesn't typically announce or confirm Panda refreshes these days, but when there's a major Panda update, they usually let the world know. On Thursday night, Google's Pierre Far did just that via Google+ update.

This is exactly what he said:

Earlier this week, we started a slow rollout of an improved Panda algorithm, and we expect to have everything done sometime next week.

Based on user (and webmaster!) feedback, we’ve been able to discover a few more signals to help Panda identify low-quality content more precisely. This results in a greater diversity of high-quality small- and medium-sized sites ranking higher, which is nice.

Depending on the locale, around 3-5% of queries are affected.

There was a significant Panda refresh suspected earlier this month, but the company didn't confirm that.

If you're keeping track, this is the 27th Panda update. Unofficial algorithm namer and numberer Danny Sullivan is calling it 4.1.

A lot of people are happy to read Far's words about small and medium-sized businesses. In fact, one person in WebmasterWorld was actually more impressed with the "which is nice" part. If Google wants small and medium-sized sites to succeed, then how thoughtful of them!

When Google pushed out Panda 4.0 in May, it was also supposed to benefit small sites and businesses. Google's Matt Cutts had discussed the update at a conference a couple months prior, and said it should have a direct impact on helping these businesses do better.

One Googler on his team was said to be specifically working on ways to help small web sites and businesses do better in Google search results. While there was certainly a mix of reactions, there did seem to be more people claiming a positive impact from that update than usual.

As you might expect, the reactions are mixed once again with the new update.

If you were hit by Panda in the past, you might see some positive effects with the new update if you made changes that the algorithm likes or even if the new signals pick up on something you have that the algorithm wasn't picking up on before. Of course it goes both ways. You may have escaped past updates unscathed, and triggered one of the newer signals this time around.

Now that the new and improved Panda is on the loose, let the speculation about additional signals begin. As a reminder, these are the questions Google listed a few years ago when talking about how it assesses quality in relation to the Panda update:

Would you trust the information presented in this article?

Is this article written by an expert or enthusiast who knows the topic well, or is it more shallow in nature?

Does the site have duplicate, overlapping, or redundant articles on the same or similar topics with slightly different keyword variations?

Would you be comfortable giving your credit card information to this site?

Does this article have spelling, stylistic, or factual errors?

Are the topics driven by genuine interests of readers of the site, or does the site generate content by attempting to guess what might rank well in search engines?

Does the article provide original content or information, original reporting, original research, or original analysis?

Does the page provide substantial value when compared to other pages in search results?

How much quality control is done on content?

Does the article describe both sides of a story?

Is the site a recognized authority on its topic?

Is the content mass-produced by or outsourced to a large number of creators, or spread across a large network of sites, so that individual pages or sites don’t get as much attention or care?

Was the article edited well, or does it appear sloppy or hastily produced?

For a health related query, would you trust information from this site?

Would you recognize this site as an authoritative source when mentioned by name?

Does this article provide a complete or comprehensive description of the topic?

Does this article contain insightful analysis or interesting information that is beyond obvious?

Is this the sort of page you’d want to bookmark, share with a friend, or recommend?

Does this article have an excessive amount of ads that distract from or interfere with the main content?

Would you expect to see this article in a printed magazine, encyclopedia or book?

Are the articles short, unsubstantial, or otherwise lacking in helpful specifics?

Are the pages produced with great care and attention to detail vs. less attention to detail?

Would users complain when they see pages from this site?

How (if at all) has Panda impacted your site? Let us know in the comments.

Image via Wikimedia Commons

Chris Crum
Chris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.