Back in 2011, Google rolled out Panda, which was designed to improve the quality of search results. Unfortunately, small businesses slipped off Google’s radar as the algorithm favoured big brand sites. In an attempt to redress this, Google have now released Panda 4.0. As a softer version of previous Panda updates, the update will affect 7.5% of English searches and hopefully improve results for the smaller players.

So how’s it working out so far? According to Searchmetrics, initial results have seen Ebay and lose a great deal of traffic, while (A recruitment website),, Shopstyle and a number of medical websites have seen large increases. So while this is good news for hypochondriac job seekers who want to look stylish, what about small business sites? Well Google’s agenda remains the same as ever; penalising poor quality content in favour of value driven organic search results. The majority of losers in this latest update are all well known as users of thin syndicated poor quality content.

All of which means that businesses and SEO’s need to continue working on the new three pillars of SEO; content, links and social media. Produce original, useful, well written and engaging content for your website and blog, don’t neglect your social media, ensure your website is responsive to mobile users, build good inbound links, and measure your traffic. Meanwhile, to find out if Panda 4.0 has helped or hindered you, check out your search-driven traffic from Google, and watch what happens as it unfolds.