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Google’s Panda 4.1 Update: Who Will It Affect?

Oct 7, 2014, 14:56 PM | Published under Search Engine Optimization

Google updates its search algorithm several times throughout each year. Some updates are more significant than others, and the latest one, known as Panda 4.1, is one of the more significant ones. Here are the details.

Panda 4.1 updates began to take effect on September 23rd of this year, and it has been sending ripples throughout the internet. It seems to affect sites with affiliate content. By content what exactly is meant is the words on your webpages. That is your content. Google places high value on content that is useful to the user, and that are relevant to the theme of the website.

One of the potential victims of the Panda 4.1 update, therefore, is any website that has “thin” or “weak” content. This means content that isn’t really useful. This is especially true if that page has a link to an affiliate site for the purpose of purchasing something.

We’re not saying affiliate sites are bad, but if the product or service you are selling is not on your website then you at least have to have some new information that gives the user substance. It must be something other than, “buy this watch here”.  If you are not providing any new information that users could find useful then you shouldn’t create an affiliate site.

Another potential victim is any site with broken links. Now, this is nothing new, broken links are something that you want to avoid, but it’s believed that Google is cracking down even harder on this issue with the latest update. Broken links are just what they sound like, links that are on your web page, but when you click on it, it takes you to a page that doesn’t exist, or doesn’t work properly. It seems that the message Google is sending here is, 'If you can’t take care of your site then why should we?'

There are other issues that are not new, but that the search engine is cracking down on, like keyword stuffing, which means using your keyword excessively on any given page; and doorway pages, which are a slew of pages that contain the same keyword with the intent of ranking for that keyword when none of the pages offer any unique information. In other words you should only say one thing one time on your website.

For example, if you want to rank for “real estate in San Diego” you can have several pages that touch on that subject, but make sure that each page has some unique and useful information on it. Otherwise, it will be clear that you are trying to game the system by having a lot of pages with the same keywords that all essentially say the same thing.

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