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Panda Update 4.0: Winners and Losers – Google USA

A new Panda update has been rolled out by Google, and it’s important to everybody in SEO. So we’ve carried out an immediate analysis, and here are the results.

Update: In order to get this analysis to you as quickly as possible, the data we used was independent of the Suite Software. However, it is included now in the Searchmetrics Suite Research Area, and the data is viewable in the client project area as usual, depending upon your individual update cycles.

Google Panda Update 4.0Matt Cutts, Google’s Head of Webspam, announced the release of the Panda 4.0 update via his Twitter feed yesterday. Initially called “Farmer Update”, it was rolled out in the US in February 2011 and globally in August of the same year. The update aims to push pages with poor content and spam from the search results.

This fourth generation of Panda started rolling out yesterday and Searchengineland.com are projecting that it will impact 7.5% of (english) search queries. Other languages may well be affected in differing proportions. As it revealed itself in the SERPs, we decided to take a look at it:

Payday Loans 2.0 for “very spammy queries”

At the same time as Panda 4.0, or even a little earlier (last weekend), “Payday – Loans 2.0” was rolled out. This update is more link-based and focuses on keywords with high search volumes and CPC in which the potential proportion of spam in the SERPs is likely to be very high.

According to Matt Cutts, the proportion of affected searches in the United States was only about 0.3%, so let’s concentrate on Panda here.

Panda 4.0 – A ‘Delicate’ Update

After many smaller, almost monthly “refreshes”, the fourth Panda update seems to be a major one. However, according to the rumor mill, this update is more “soft and gentle” than previous ones, and will supposedly serve as a basis for future adjustments to the algorithm.

Matt Cutts - Panda 4.0 tweet US

However, as Matt Cutts announced at last year’s Pubcon in Las Vegas, Google’s future Panda is supposed to be “baked” into the algorithm, it’s surprising that this update comes as a new version when we were not expecting Google to roll it out with such a public announcement.

Preliminary analysis – Foundation: SEO Visibility – delta value

The following data is based on the organic SEO Visibility for each domain for all researched keywords, compared to our last data point. The actual traffic by each domain – for example brand and/or direct traffic etc. – can vary with values given here.

Since there seems to be another reason for SEO Visibility loss of some domains, next to the Panda update (more on this below), and also some exceptions that I would not call Panda losers, I will call this a preliminary analysis. We will update this article as soon as we had a deeper look into the data, but I wanted to give you some insights right away. So lets start with a provisional lists – please interpret with caution:

Google SERPs: Panda 4.0 Losers

The lists are ordered by absolute loss / gain, which is shown in the respective column as rounded percentage. Basis of the analysis are domains that at least had a value of 10000 SEO Visibility before Panda 4.0 and that show now a change of at least +/-20 %.

domain

percent

ask.com

> – 50%

ebay.com

> – 33%

biography.com

> – 33%

retailmenot.com

> – 33%

starpulse.com

> – 50%

history.com

> – 33%

isitdownrightnow.com

> – 50%

aceshowbiz.com

> – 75%

examiner.com

> – 50%

yellowpages.com

> – 20%

yourtango.com

> – 75%

dealcatcher.com

> – 50%

livescience.com

> – 50%

webopedia.com

> – 50%

xmarks.com

> – 50%

simplyrecipes.com

> – 33%

siteslike.com

> – 50%

digitaltrends.com

> – 50%

health.com

> – 50%

spoonful.com

> – 75%

songkick.com

> – 75%

realsimple.com

> – 33%

appbrain.com

> – 33%

thehollywoodgossip.com

> – 50%

dealspl.us

> – 33%

techtarget.com

> – 33%

gossipcop.com

> – 50%

rd.com

> – 75%

chow.com

> – 33%

doxo.com

> – 50%

heavy.com

> – 50%

csmonitor.com

> – 33%

toptenreviews.com

> – 20%

parenting.com

> – 50%

globalpost.com

> – 75%

espnfc.com

> – 50%

serviceguidance.com

> – 50%

mnn.com

> – 75%

mystore411.com

> – 50%

urlm.co

> – 33%

delish.com

> – 50%

healthcentral.com

> – 33%

whatscookingamerica.net

> – 50%

columbia.edu

> – 20%

songlyrics.com

> – 20%

internetslang.com

> – 33%

ibiblio.org

> – 50%

webutation.info

> – 50%

cheapflights.com

> – 33%

mybanktracker.com

> – 50%

 

Google SERPs: Panda 4.0 Winners

domain

percent

glassdoor.com

> 100%

emedicinehealth.com

> 500 %

medterms.com

> 500 %

yourdictionary.com

> 50%

shopstyle.com

> 250%

zimbio.com

> 500 %

myrecipes.com

> 250%

couponcabin.com

> 250%

buzzfeed.com

> 25%

consumeraffairs.com

> 100%

wordpress.com

> 20%

thinkexist.com

> 250%

onhealth.com

> 250%

alternativeto.net

> 100%

whosdatedwho.com

> 250%

reverso.net

> 50%

wikimedia.org

> 100%

dogtime.com

> 100%

findthebest.com

> 50%

eatingwell.com

> 100%

quotegarden.com

> 100%

goodhousekeeping.com

> 250%

everydayhealth.com

> 25%

simplyhired.com

> 100%

momswhothink.com

> 100%

similarsites.com

> 100%

southernliving.com

> 50%

theknot.com

> 25%

allaboutvision.com

> 100%

openculture.com

> 50%

babyzone.com

> 50%

tasteofhome.com

> 33%

gotquestions.org

> 100%

movie4k.to

> 50%

wmagazine.com

> 33%

ycharts.com

> 100%

historyplace.com

> 50%

rcn.com

> 100%

salary.com

> 50%

skepdic.com

> 100%

mediawiki.org

> 100%

oodle.com

> 100%

abbreviations.com

> 100%

homes.com

> 100%

spokeo.com

> 50%

hlntv.com

> 33%

sparkpeople.com

> 33%

hayneedle.com

> 50%

emedtv.com

> 100%

 

Analysis: aggregators with little original content lose visibility

As expected, the update mainly relates to the content area. In the loser list you will find a strong number of aggregators who mainly ranked with information from external sources – for example in the area of Coupons, News (here especially the celebrity/ gossip sector), Software – or of course price comparism websites. Also, some forums and weather portals are on the list.

On the other hand, we also find some of the aggregators among the winners. Particularly strong are some price and product comparism sites, health pages and some local aggregators. The conclusion is therefore somehow unclear. It is possible that the Panda update is still not fully rolled out, so we will keep you updated.

SERP in SERP losses

Next to the mentioned aggregators, we found websites who lost at the directory level where they ranked with result pages. Presumably, this has not directly to do with the Panda update. We are currently working on a separate analysis.

First conclusion : This panda did not only punish

Some sites that should be potentially on the Panda loser list have actually shown a positive development. This could be the “learning from mistakes” (also from others), as some of these candidates have (now) written their own content. The losers on the other hand, tend to show syndicated content or even duplicate content. But this doesn’t mean that this is the end of the update. Google proofed in the past that they are able to perform improvements or rollbacks really fast. So we will see what will happen over the next weeks.

By the way, the Payday-Loan losers can be identified pretty easy -> URL completely removed from the index (it’s more like a link -based loss) or not (rather Panda).

Update: If you want to find out, if your business has been affected by the Panda 4.0 Update, feel free to contact us and get more information on the topic.

Marcus Tober

Marcus Tober

My name is Marcus Tober and I’m the founder of Searchmetrics. Because we really love to analyze all kinds of online data, we can give you more insights than any other company in SEO, SEM and Social Media. It’s not a job, it’s passion.

164 thoughts on “Panda Update 4.0: Winners and Losers – Google USA


  • ebay has been a big loser in this, especially when eCommerce is growing so fast. This is a wake up time for eBay! 🙂

    And, thanks Daniel for http://suite.searchmetrics.com/en/research. I will be exploring this today.

  • Posting winners and losers. It is very easy for us to compare website. Nice Post.

  • as far as i seen maximum of the blogs are black listed through this google algo update but i successful passed this cause i blindly follow google policies

  • Anybody Know When Next Google Penguin Update Happen in 2015?

  • Panda update also affect some of my website/blog, maybe i using to much quote from other site, news site. and So happy that people keep track of this stuff. Ebay -33% in visibility…it´s incredible. Great post Marcus.

  • Few days later, another update may come. I wonder which sites are going to be losers this time, and which are going to be winners of course!

  • your article is very useful to related a white hat search engine optimization professional
    thanks for sharing for publish it.

  • i’ve had fun analizing and comparing myself the losers!

    Great post!

  • Last series of Panda Penguin updates had totally ruined and collapsed or web ranking and business. Now after 2 years we are able to recover somehow. Would like to know upcoming series of updates in 2015 , so that can be prepared. If someone can advise .
    Also its interesting to know how big value domains lost with these updates. Thanks for Sharing

  • This was a lucky update for us. Our SERs have constantly and consistently been on the rise. How? We did everything by the book.

  • @Manmeet: There’s a pigeon update designed for local search results.

  • Christian Andersen 2015/02/04 at 5:16 pm

    Great post!

    We just have to get use to these thing happening. In this area things change all the time!

  • Thanks for sharing this analysis and for keeping us informed Marcus. =)

  • Great post Marcus, the information is interesting, looks like they are really going after the good old directory submissions and spun content. It’s a shame they are really hitting some popular sites and some nobody sites are getting all the spoils. Having said that Google did warn us all to stop linking from directories, and now you have it.. Panda 4.0 punishment.

  • seowebconsultora 2015/02/20 at 8:15 pm

    I liked so much your article, is very useful to related a white hat search engine optimization professional, so interesting because is original than other seo blog i usually read,thanks!

  • I really like this post, the problem many people have with Seo is because will don’t understand Google. How it truly working

  • google is a hard beast to tame

  • SEO has become a tainted business, because the work is technical it is best suited for workers who have researched the business and have practical experience, this is not always the case with a lot of professionals though
    Had to add you to my weekly website list, keep up the good posts!

  • Good content marketing should be enough, at least if you never used blak hat techniques

  • Great article and very interesting metrics. Thank you very much for for sharing Marcus.

  • Hey Marcus,

    I know this is an old post, but I liked that list of loss / gain. Just curious how many domains you’re tracking to be able to get such a useful insight after G updates?

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  • Good content marketing is never enough, always you should think of DA of your Domain, many of your competitors use link building services and they grow will you do not grow

  • Daily Sport Matches 2016/01/13 at 5:49 am

    really liked this post, the problem many people have with Seo is because will don’t understand Google. How it truly working

  • thanks for sharing this post, very helpful..

  • Was there a recent panda update? please advise.

  • Hi Shweta, the last Panda update was in July 2015. Since then we have seen Phantom III and this most recent core update.

  • pastile pt slabit 2016/01/23 at 1:17 pm

    Totally and an highly interesting post to read on this nice website. Almost never write any feedback but now i just did not resist

  • Thanks Tom, i hope penguin will be rolled out soon?

  • This was a good news for all people who work hard And create good content.

  • Panda is now part of Google’s core ranking algorithm.

  • keramik batu alam 2016/03/21 at 2:59 am

    good article tom, you really helped me

  • keramik batu alam 2016/03/21 at 3:12 am

    this post is very helpful
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  • Fortunately Google increasingly improve more and more its algorithm, and this makes that good SEO professionals who do quality work see our results improve gradually.

  • thanks for sharing, tom..

  • Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I really appreciate your efforts and I will
    be waiting for your next post thanks once again.

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