We reported in March of this year that Google was planning to release an update to its Panda algorithm that would greatly benefit small business websites and would negate much of the disadvantages imposed on content-rich sites by the Google Panda algorithm. We forecast that this update would occur towards the end of May and lo and behold, on the 20th of this month, the SEO news site began to report that the new update had gone live. It is called Panda 4.0 and it will greatly assist the websites of small US law firms.
Search Engine Land was the first to break the news of the rollout with this evening posting on May 20th. Webmasters had been reporting sudden changes and reversals of those changes in their ranking on Google for weeks. This intimated that Google was testing a new algorithm. These signs, together with Matt Cutts’ announcement back in March put all the SEO news sites on alert looking for news of the update. Search Engine Land’s late night news desk caught the announcement of “Panda 4.0.”
Search Engine Watch caught up with events the next morning on the 21st. This article explains the confusion about the effects of the Panda update because it was rolled out in conjunction with an amendment to Google’s algorithm adjustments to down-rank the sites of Payday lenders.
This article, posted by Search Engine Land on the 21st, details the winners and losers of the algorithm update. This topic was also covered by Search Engine Journal, who also noticed that the rankings of eBay got severely battered. This was a puzzle, as is the mix of losers, which include Biography.com and History.com – two sites noted for quality content. Heartwarming news comes from the winners list, which includes a number of sites giving medical advice and listing medical professionals. This confirms rumors that the update would improve the rankings of professionals giving advice – professionals like doctors and lawyers. No legal sites made it into the list of winners, but algorithm updates usually takes weeks to bed in and take full effect. So stay tuned for signs of benefit to law firm websites from this update.
“It Was A Manual Action Against eBay, Not Panda 4.0″ That Caused A Drop In Rankings, According to Re/Code
Although Search Engine Land caught this story, we have already had two articles from them in this roundup, so let’s take this news from Search Engine Journal. It turns out the sudden down-ranking of eBay was the result of a manual penalty applied to the auction site and was completely unrelated to the Panda 4.0 rollout. Therefore, this event shouldn’t be taken into account when planning your law firm’s Web strategy.
By May 22nd, the dust was settling and pulses were getting back to normal. The SEO news sites were able to start filing their more considered reports on the update and this article from Search Engine Journal is a nice example. The article hands over the mike to a number of well-known SEO experts, so you will save yourself time trolling around all the sites by reading through this compilation. The article is an easy read for a non-technical audience.
This Search Engine Roundtable article covers pretty much the same territory as all the others listed in this roundup, but with one advantage for the non-techie lawyer: it’s brief. The main point of interest in this article is the long list of Panda updates it includes. This is an eye opener for those of you who are not that into SEO. The list is very long.
However, bear in mind this only covers updates to one of Google’s many algorithm and only goes up to March of last year, when Google decided that its Panda updates would be too numerous to name.