If you cast your mind back to last April you’ll no doubt remember the Panda update.
This was Google’s attempt to weed out the dross from the internet and reclaim the search engines for what it considered to be worthy and useful traffic. It was admirable in many ways because spam and content farms had made life on the net a real pain. There was, by and large, little objection to Google changing its algorithms because everybody realised something needed to be done. Now, some businesses were hit harder by these changes than others, but they’ve learned to cope with them and adapt their search engine strategies accordingly. We learned since the original algorithm changes that Google is constantly monitoring the situation, and making little tweaks here and there to stay ahead of the game. That’s fine, and most marketers accept this is probably necessary. What will worry them, however, is that Google has announced that it intends to upgrade Panda once more, and this might lead to further problems for some internet sites.
The alarm bells have already started to ring for some.
It’s not envisaged that the latest changes will cause quite the level of disruption as the original Panda update, where some popular sites saw their web traffic plummet by up to 30 percent. However, many companies are understandably wary. Their fears haven’t really been eased by the comments of Matt Cutts, Google’s head of web spam. Rather than calming the situation, Cutts’ Twitter post merely threw fuel on the flames. The post simply stated:
“weather report: expect some Panda-related flux in the next few weeks, but will have less impact than previous updates.”
Now, as statement’s go, it doesn’t really tell you much, does it? What does ‘less impact’ and ‘flux’ mean? Does it mean hardly any change at all, so genuine website administrators needn’t worry, or does it mean, yes some people will be affected by the changes, but hey ho, these things happen? At least it won’t be as bad as the last time: if you’re affected then get over it and move on. The problem is no-one knows. Only time will tell, and in the meantime we’ll all just have to keep our fingers crossed and hope for the best.
The latest tweaks come only weeks after Google faced questions from the U.S. Regulator, over whether if favoured its own companies in the search results. Google, of course, denied any wrongdoing and refuted any allegations of collusion. Still there are lingering suspicions that this won’t be the last time the search giant has to explain itself to the authorities.
So what are these changes likely to be?
Google has intimated that it intends to use the update to promote video, and push video content higher up the search engine results. Google claims, as already stated, that these changes won’t have as big an impact as the previous algorithm change, but websites administrators are worried none the less.
According to a spokesperson for internet marketing company, Kingpin SEO, there are understandable concerns within the industry that need to be addressed urgently:
“This latest Panda incarnation continues to favour unique content, but also puts greater value on content placed as embedded video. The change has favoured both YouTube and Android.com. How Panda has helped the latter remains a mystery. As to video sites prospering under the new formula, this [development] only points us further in the direction of hybrid web portals. As search engine crawlers develop sufficient power so as to ‘look inside’ videos and read the contents, that content will be more and more highly indexed and prized.”
It remains to be seen what the latest changes will do to search engine ranking, but whatever happens, the one thing you can definitely guarantee is that these changes won’t be the last.