Panda 4.0 Update: Favorites and Outsiders – What Are the Factors of Google’s Betting System?
Yesterday, we gave you some practical advice on how to avoid the Google Panda Penalty. Today we would like to get a view of how some websites applied (or did not applied) the SEO tactics mentioned in the previous post.
The Google Panda 4.0 Update that was rolled out a few weeks ago has now shown some early results, which reveal both a negative and positive effect on the content shared on the web (depending on the point of view, a user’s or website owner’s). Users are receiving more relative results for their queries. Given the first reports and complaints I would say that positive effects are greater than negative. Let’s have a quick view of the sites being penalized and rewarded by Google’s Panda 4.0. The list is not comprehensive, but we can see a definite trend of search visibility losses/gains for some giant websites.
Among outsiders we can find websites which post and promote rehashed or duplicate information (Celebrity and Showbiz news portals etc.), create content that links to external sources (Discount Coupon & Codes websites etc.), or show skinny content from third parties (Weather and Price comparison sites).
We at Web CEO decided to take a closer look at those sites that were most affected:
isitdownrightnow.com – 50%
aceshowbiz.com – 75%
starpulse.com – 50%
Emedicinehealth.com 500 %
Medterms.com 500 %
Zimbio.com – 500%
Interesting fact is that very similar sites (starpulse.com and zimbio.com) appeared both in the lists of favorites and outsiders. But what makes them different? Is it really all about content quality?
I have made a quick competitive analysis of the backlink profiles of these two websites with the help of our Backlink Quality Checker. A website’s backlink profile is one of the main factors measured by Google, even if a Google update affects content only. Backlinks together with anchor texts linking to relative and useful content on other sites are considered to be part of the algorithm. This truth is confirmed by SEO experts like Jayson DeMers, Founder & CEO at AudienceBloom who has stated that one must: “Implement the three pillars of SEO: Content, links and social media, via a solid content strategy”.
In the Web CEO Online Competitor Link Profile report, we see few obvious reasons why the above two websites are on opposite sides of the Panda 4.0 fallout. Both of the sites have a high PR of 6. But a closer look reveals the factors that clearly caused starpulse.com to fall in the rankings and zimbio.com go up:
- Zimbio had a greater number of backlinks.
- Zimbio had more links with .GOV and .EDU link status.
- Zimbio had more dofollow links as opposed to nofollow links.
- Zimbio had a lower percentage of sitewide links which are considered more and more by Google to be more spammy.
Among absolute favorites there are websites which serve as original sources of interesting and helpful information. Their content is user-focused and that’s why they earn more points in the high quality content promotion battle.
The point is that you might source information from other related websites, but keep away from aping. One of the winner sites with a well executed content strategy is buzzfeed.com. Though there is an excessive number of viral articles like “15 things you should avoid on the first date”, the content is diverse and fits almost everyone’s content needs. Are you raving for useful articles, would you rather read politics or business news, or do you just want to relax and look through interactive content? Buzzfeed gives people a variety of interesting content, fact and fiction, with strong visual assets here and there (video selections, quizzes, gif feed etc.).
Let’s take another one of the winner sites into consideration. Medterms.com has earned more Panda points (500 % improvement in rankings) than other websites. The SEO factors that might have taken them to the top of the favorites list are:
- Clear and clean navigation
- Well-implemented 301 redirects.
- User-friendly interface with a search box to provide quick access to desired content.
- Different types of content including original visual assets: slideshare shows, image carousels, interactive content distribution like quizzes etc.
- Well-performed internal links optimization with diverse link text
- Strong presence on social media with a high social reach.
If you want to feel secure with the Google Panda 4.0 and become a favorite of users and of Google, be sure to implement the tried and true SEO tactics mentioned above.