ORLANDO, FLORIDA- Google recently pushed out a new change to its algorithm that SEO experts on major SEO blogs are calling Panda 20, so if you’ve seen a major dip in your rankings over the last couple of weeks, this may be why.
Barry Schwartz, the news editor for Search Engine Land, posted that Google confirmed with them on Sep. 27 that the 20th Panda algorithm update was in the process of being rolled out. The latest reports indicate that it is a fairly major one.
The head of Google’s webspam fighting team Matt Cutts warned a change was coming in a Tweet on Sept. 28: “Minor weather report: small upcoming Google algo change will reduce low-quality ‘exact-match’ domains in search results.”
Turns out that minor weather report may have referred to Panda 20, an update that actually impacted 2.4 percent of English search queries in a way that normal search engine users might notice. Cutts may have been talking about another update that was pushed out over the same weekend with Panda 20, which makes it difficult at this point to determine which update caused what until Google shares more details, or more data is in from SEO services experts.
The official announcement from Google came late Friday afternoon that an exact match domain update would eliminate the chance of a low-quality exact match domain from ranking well in Google. In a statement that Cutts sent to Search Engine Land, he emphasized that this was an algorithm update; not just a data update like previous changes to Panda.
“I haven’t seen many exact-match domain sites drop from that number one spot,” emphasizes Ali Husayni, Millionairium’s CEO. “Maybe Panda 20 hasn’t rolled out completely yet.”
The original Panda update was back in February 2011. There have been periodic adjustments and it is updated almost monthly, so changes are subtle and mostly go unnoticed, according to Cutts. For a summary of previous 19 Panda updates, including dates and what they did, check out this list compiled by one of our guest writers.
What Are EMDs & Why Are They In The Crosshairs?
Exact-match domain names, which also go by EMDs, are websites that use a domain name that contains the exact keyword or phrase they are targeting with their search engine optimization.
For instance, if you’re looking for the best shoe deals, you may search for “best shoe deals.” In this case, www.bestshoedeals.com would be an exact match.
EMDs have been considered a catalyst in improving the SEO ranking of a website, although many websites rely heavily on EMDs without producing any high-quality or relevant content. That is precisely why Google’s webspam fighting team has targeted them.
Low-quality websites usually have lots of duplicated content and what original content there is typically has little value to the reader or is loaded with a lot of advertisements. They often have a poor, unnatural link profile, including links from unrelated or suspicious websites. The number of incoming links that use anchor text can also be an indicator of a low-quality site.
Why Did My Site Get Hit?
If you have an exact-match domain website, you don’t need to panic. Panda 20 doesn’t mean you’re doomed to fail. Unfortunately, legitimate businesses that have worked diligently can become unwitting casualties of these types of updates. But more often than not, there is something wrong or missing with their search engine optimization techniques. If you’re not sure what you need to do to recover from the update, consider investing in a few hours of SEO consulting services with one of our SEO experts, who can give you the information you need to get back in business.
What impact have you seen on search results since this latest Panda update? Share your experience.