Google Launches Panda 4.0 and Payday Loan 2.0

panda-4_0 imageIt is no secret that over the last couple of years, Google has been stepping up its game when it comes to battling web spam. And just recently, the tech giant has announced not one, but two updates to its search algorithm. Matt Cutts, head of Google’s web spam team, confirmed that they have rolled out two updates over the week: Panda 4.0 and Payday Loan 2.0.

According to James Brockbank of Search Engine Journal, Panda 4.0 looks to be the “softer update” that was first discussed by experts in March. It was said that this update affects about 7.5% of search queries in English. It also affects different languages to different extents.

But unlike previous Panda updates, Panda 4.0 seemed to be more “generous to sites,” especially to those that were affected by earlier updates. Brockbank said some websites that were hit by previous versions of Panda and Penguin have been showing significant recoveries and improvement ever since Panda 4.0 has been implemented early this week.

On the other hand, Payday Loan 2.0, whose original version was launched just about a year ago, is a next generation algorithm that specifically targets “very spammy queries.” These queries are typically associated with excessive web spam that includes payday loans, insurance, and accident claims among other things.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Google told Search Engine Land that while the latest version of the Payday Loan algorithm shares the same goal of eliminating web spam with Panda and Penguin, Payday Loan 2.0 is not related to the two. But just like Panda 4.0, this algorithm update affects different languages to different extents.

With Google being expected to continue to play an active role in changing the online search landscape, many SEO experts stressed out the importance of being vigilant and proactive. According to them, creating content that provides value to searchers is now more important than ever. “The focus needs to be on content—that which provides value to the searcher—and a user-friendly site, meaning the structure and navigation is logical and clear. You should make sure your on-page content is in line with what Google believes to be the ‘norm’ and is rewarding,” said Bruce Clay, owner and CEO of Bruce Clay, Inc.

Jason White, director of SEO at DragonSearch, meanwhile, underscored the importance of conducting a site audit in the face of an ever-changing online landscape. According to him, SEO practitioners should take the time to understand their website’s strengths and weaknesses and use the information they have obtained to educate their clients on how these issues affect SEO and their business as whole.

More SEO Articles:
‘Bigger Isn’t Always Better,’ Says Google’s Head of Web Spam
Why is Google Analytics so Important?

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