Google Panda 4.1 algorithm update: what it means for you

Posted: Friday 3rd October 2014 in Owned and earned media, Thought Leadership.
Google's Panda 4.1 algorithm update from Summit

Google has released version 4.1 of the Panda algorithm this week

Google Panda 4.1 – what you need to know

Earlier this week Pierre Far, Webmaster Trends Analyst from Google UK, announced on Google+ that, “a slow rollout of an improved Panda algorithm” was taking place and was expected
to finish this week.

Google Panda was last updated four months ago; you can view
a full list of Google’s algorithm change history on MOZ.

Like all Panda updates it looks to penalise “thin” content sites and promote richer informative sites to satisfy search query intent. In the past this has led to some smaller businesses being mistaken as offending sites and being unfairly penalised with lower rankings on SERPs (known as false positives).  This Google Panda 4.1 update will look to help alleviate some of these impacts for small but high quality content sites.

Pierre Far says, “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 greater diversity of high-quality small and medium-sized sites ranking higher.”

Retailers should pay attention because…

  1. Depending on the locale, around 3-5% of queries will be affected.
  2. This is a chance for high quality content from small to medium businesses to appear in higher ranking positions.
  3. Whilst potentially a great update for smaller quality retailers, the downside for larger retailers is they could find themselves ranking lower than their smaller competitors.

You may also be interested in:
Google to prioritise secure websites with new algorithm change
Link building quality vs quantity: which approach will boost your SEO?


Tips for making the most of Google Panda 4.1 update

  1. Monitor your rankings and look for any drop outside normal tolerances and seasonality.
  2. Perform a content GAP analysis. How old is your content? Is it still applicable to your primary keywords/landing page and products/services?
  3. Can you give more? You may sell a product/service, but do you help the user buy with confidence with the provision of additional information throughout the customer journey?
  4. Think like a user. What are they looking for, what would they want to read about before buying or converting when signing-up?
  5. Go over and above. You may be fine with the content you have, but if you can give your visitors more you can help develop loyalty by going the extra mile to help give them the answers they needed and the confidence to convert. That’s a happy user (and Panda).

We have seen in search results a lot of movement amongst competitors we have been tracking for our clients. We have seen over the past month smaller competitors jumping onto page 1, fluctuating around 2 positions up and down and then for a period settling in a consistent position. Then the movement begins again for them. It makes it interesting to monitor and it’s good to analyse these to look for any signals that help explain why Google has decided to give them a boost. These can provide you with additional insights and opportunities for your client or internal team.

What’s your situation? Are small to medium-sized sites impacting your rankings, or are you a smaller business that is seeing the uplift from the release of Panda 4.1?

We would love to hear about your results and findings.


If you have any questions about the Panda algorythm or would like to know more about how Summit can help you make more money online please contact Dave Trolle on 01482 876876.