Google Announces Major Search Algorithm Update



Since the writing of this article it has been speculated that eBay was in fact hit with a manual action – this is when Google manually penalises a website for practicing unsavoury SEO. The main suspicion for this is that only certain pages disappeared from search, if the Panda 4.0 algorithm had impacted eBay it would have taken on their entire site. Sites who have been hit hard appear to be the newswires and article sites like eHow and

This morning, Matt Cutts (head of the ‘webspam’ team at Google), tweeted of an update to their ‘Panda’ algorithm:

What is Panda 4.0?

To determine which websites should appear in search results for specific terms, Google uses a number of different algorithms which aim to be as human as possible, one of which is called Panda.

The Panda 4.0 algorithm is centered around high quality content, and was initially implemented with the intention of eliminating spam content from search results. Google has been trying to rid itself of spam websites such as those with ‘exact-match domains’, poor-quality misspelled content and unrealistically rammed with target keywords. These sites used to rank highly because they were seen to be relevant, now the algorithm tries to read web pages as a human would do, looking for high quality real content.

What effect does this have on small businesses?

It is believed that the new update will help small businesses to grow in terms of their online rankings, and so this will be welcomed by many. The only negative for smaller businesses is that they will likely need to invest more time and resources into writing as much high-quality content as possible, which will be good for the end user.

At the same time, there have been two smaller updates – one of which reduced eBay’s average share of the top 10 rankings from a consistent 1% to just 0.2% after the update. Again, eBay moving down in organic Search rankings will be welcomed by many (except of course eBay themselves!). However, eBay make good use of AdWords, so this shouldn’t affect them too much.

Overall, this shouldn’t be a problem for businesses as long as they continue writing good quality content which will be interesting for their readers.

How will we be reacting to these changes?

Once we have further details on this update, we’ll be reviewing our SEO efforts for clients to ensure we’re working with the new algorithm in mind. We’ll be sure to keep you updated here.