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What Does the Panda 4.0 update mean for SEO?

SEOs spent a restless last week of the month of May, 2014. Even as Google was preparing to launch Panda 4.0, a few of the prominent sites had already begun witnessing huge decline in visibility and traffic. Although this may have been due to the release of spam algorithm version 2.0, the launch of Panda 4.0 continued the loss of visibility for prominent sites.

 

As Google’s Matt Cuts had previously mentioned about the upcoming changes, this update maybe specific to certain keywords. Google had received complaints regarding a few keywords that particularly attracted spam. Thus, this update was in the pipeline for some time now. Though the exact manner in which the updates resulted in the lowering of visibility is still unclear, Google had declared that about 7.5% of English queries will be impacted by this update. Going by the percentage, Panda 4.0 will have the highest impact among all the Panda updates. Thus, it is time, once again, for SEO Agencies and SEO Professionals to put themselves on hot seats.

 

Let us start with what we know. It is seen that the Press Release sites have taken the first hits in the largest volumes. Not many are complaining about this as such sites have become infamous for becoming hubs for spam links. What it means, for the SEOs, is they have to now take extra care while posting content to the Press Release sites. It can no longer be “post it anywhere you can”. SEO Professionals will now have to put Press Release sites through careful scrutiny before hitting the post button.

 

The SEO Agencies should also be ready for more changes as and when more effects emerge. What they should also remember, is that a quality website with quality content is the only characteristic that will remain untouched by these changes. For all the other factors, the game of cat and mouse will continue.

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Is the Strife on Google’s Latest Changes Merited?

How many times have you seen the service providers in the online markets go up in fury when Google announces changes? Be it SEO Services, price comparison services, or any other service utilizing Google’s search ranking as a base for their functions, most of the relevant agencies seem ever ready to scoff at any change announced by Google. Let’s analyze the criticism lashed out at Google’s latest change, the Hummingbird and whether the discussions and debates raging over the subject are merited.

In a nutshell, the introduction of Hummingbird changed the algorithm by which Google showed results. The focus has shifted from individual keywords to the phrase typed by the user. The user can’t be anything but pleased at Google’s latest ability to react better to longer and complex search phrases. However, another change that was made was the restriction of keyword data to the paid users. It is this change which has led some of the service providers to accuse Google of discrimination. Some suggested Google wanted monopoly, some said it will kill small businesses, and the discussion forums have been overloaded!

Most of anger directed at this change or any other change by Google is perhaps rooted in another cause. SEO Agencies spend enormous amount of resources in order to ensure that Google’s guidelines are followed. Changes in Google necessitate corresponding changes in the companies’ strategies. And when the updates and changes are made at intervals as regular as Google’s, the load on the resources increase. Additionally, this time Google stopped a few freebies like keyword data and that further increased the tempers.

However, if seen from a third person’s objective, the changes were not only required, but do not exactly merit the wrath that they have attracted. Firstly, if Google’s earlier guideline of good quality content has been already followed, there is no requirement for any major changes. This should have been the task of the SEO Service Providers from day 1. The question of cutting out some of the free services is a little tricky. But, providing free services and charging for them once they are popular is a common trend among online businesses. Any online application or service provider provides more for the ones who pay. Google cannot be accused of attempting monopoly just because when it starts charging a few new services a much larger base of consumers get affected.

Google’s Hummingbird brings on the changes demanded by the new voice search technology. Google is moving with the times, bringing in changes to utilize the latest available technologies. It is the job of the SEO Experts and Mobile and Internet Advertising Agencies to keep up.