Pandas may look cute and cuddly but Google’s has the potential to severely damage your business. Google began rolling out their Panda 4.0 update on Tuesday 20th May; a search engine update designed to improve the quality of results being delivered. Make no mistake; on this day every digital agency in London held their breath with trepidation.
Previous Panda updates have lost SEO agencies clients and have removed websites from top positions in search. Don’t doubt the power of Google: they can make or break businesses and reputations. It was widely expected that Panda 4.0 would be a significant algorithmic update, rather than just a finesse of existing code.
The results are now in and Search Engine Land has revealed that press release sites were a casualty of the latest Panda update.
“Using SearchMetrics, I looked at the top Press Release sites and checked if they lost any SEO visibility on a large scale since Panda 4.0 hit, and PRWeb.com, PR Newswire, BusinessWire and PRLog all seem to have lost significant rankings in Google.”
Why was this the case? It’s difficult to say without the immortal insight of Matt Cutts. Any of these could be viable reasons:
- Press release websites largely deal with duplicated content, that Google may consider to be of lesser value compared to unique content.
- Panda may have decided to class press release websites as content farms as they may link to a whole variety of low PageRank websites that are gagging for some good PR. Panda may have noticed this and dropped the PageRank of press release websites in accordance.
- Perhaps the latest Panda has reinforced Google’s last Webmaster Update from 8th August 2013? Tom Foremski caused controversy at this time with his post entitled “Did Google just kill PR agencies?” I responded to his article here on my personal blog last year.
We’ll continue to watch how Panda 4.0 has affected websites.