Google’s Panda 4.0 and Small Businesses

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Those familiar with Google’s algorithm changes, known as Panda, have probably heard that the search engine recently rolled out yet another version of changes. The newest overhaul may have more qualities in common with the animal behind the project’s name than previous updates.

Google Panda Update Basics

Google’s “original” Panda update was introduced back in early 2011. The main purpose of this search algorithm revamp was to filter a site’s content in order to prevent websites with poor quality content from reaching a high rank in Google’s top search results.

The latest changes, dubbed Panda 4.0, rolled out on May 20, 2014. This version is Google’s first major Panda update in more than a year. News of the 4.0 release spread on Twitter, announced by Google’s head of search spam, Matt Cutts. What sets 4.0 apart from the series of rolling updates Google has released in recent years, is that this version changed the actual algorithm Google uses to identify sites.

Why is this news especially important for SEO experts as well as Internet savvy individuals or businesses who operate their own webpages?

Experts have commented that the most recent algorithm change may prove to be more forgiving than other updates. At a Search Marketing Expo in March, Cutts alluded to the idea that the “next generation” Panda update his team was working on may be viewed as a softer change-up.

It’s important to address what “softer” means in this context, besides the fact that Panda 4.0 may finally have something in common with its namesake.

According to Cutts, it’s likely that the most recent algorithm alteration will prove to have a positive impact on small businesses, by helping them improve their position in the search results.
He also noted that one individual on his team is dedicating their time solely to developing ways in which small businesses and websites can achieve better rankings on the Google results pages.

This version of Panda may serve as the foundation on which smaller businesses can thrive in the search engine results space. Maybe subsequent updates will also aim to help build an online environment that is small business-friendly, therefore creating an avenue for smaller websites to reach their target audience more easily.