It’s been a while since we’ve seen an update from Google in regards to the Panda or Penguin algorithms, which most likely means that Google has something major in the works for the near future.
For the sake of precision, it’s been more than five months since the Panda 4.1 refresh, almost a year since a Panda algorithm update, and about 2 months since Google confirmed that (“Drunk”) Penguin was responsible for holiday season SERP fiascos. So, based on the updates that have happened in the last little bit, or rather, the lack of confirmed algorithm updates from Google, in addition to the passing of Panda’s 4th birthday on February 24, it seems safe to assume a major Panda overhaul is coming our way. Brace yourselves.
Google confirmed that there was no official Panda or Penguin update in February, though they did release major news late last month about rankings and mobile search, which has us thinking that the next Panda update coul draw heavily on mobile compatibility.
Last November, Google Webmaster Tools began to send alerts like the one below to domain owners whose sites weren’t compatible with mobile display or search. Three months later, they released the news that beginning in April 2015, mobile compatibility will affect domain rankings. Since then, there haven’t been any Panda updates, so it makes sense for Google to bundle these two new features together, or unveil a completely new animal–algorithm specifically targeted for mobile either on or before April.
As a reminder, Google Panda is responsible for penalizing “thin sites,” or webpages with low quality content–whether it be too few words on the page or plagiarized, unoriginal content–Panda is our friend that helps us keep the most robust, unique resources ranking high in search for keyword phrases. In terms of Panda 4.0, the May 2014 update seemed to affect websites that relied heavily on syndicated content, causing a 60-70% drop in visitors to these sites each day. As for Panda 5.0, we could expect to see sites punished for more of the same reasons and also have some sort of penalization incorporated for sites that don’t allow easy incorporation or reading on mobile versions.
But for now, we shall wait and see what Google will throw our way! As always, as long as solid SEO tactics are followed, like we’ve compiled in this guide, domain owners or managers shouldn’t worry that they’ll be punished. But if it should happen, there is a bright side — you’ll be able to do an analysis of what’s gone wrong on your site and hope for the next monthly refresh to put you back on the rankings map and out of SEO timeout. Though this can be somewhat of a trial-and-error purgatory, realize that the best thing you can do for your site is create unique, original, keyword specific frequently. Google likes that.
Worried that your website or some of your pages aren’t mobile friendly? Take advantage of Google’s Mobile Friendly Test to see how any URL stacks up in mobile version. Still confused? Comment your troubles below and we’ll see if we can help!