On May 20, 2014, Matt Cutts announced on Twitter “Google is rolling out our Panda 4.0 update starting today.”
To most people out there, this simply meant more valuable, higher-quality search results, but for some (mainly site owners), it meant having to figure out what changed and whether it had a negative or positive impact on their website’s traffic. There is nothing worse in the SEO game then spending countless hours of effort on an SEO strategy that was yielding good results, only to have a Google release wash it all away in a flash! As Google jumps from release to release, from Hummingbird to Penguin to Panda, it’s hard to keep up with what SEO techniques are frowned upon and which are best practice anymore.
With the recent Panda 4.0 release, press release sites took a big hit, making them a far less attractive SEO strategy than they have been in the past. If your past SEO strategy revolved mainly around these types of sites/links for its SEO weight, then you will likely notice a fairly large drop in rankings & traffic due to Panda 4.0. This is very similar to other ranking drops that have been seen in the past, such as the massive ranking drops for websites that relied on article websites (e-zines), which took a beating a few releases ago, or low-value online directories, which took a hit even before that. Google is constantly evolving, and because of this, it is more important than ever that your SEO strategy be extremely well-rounded and natural to avoid seeing massive traffic dips with every Google release.
As part of this, you should always avoid putting too much weight into a single SEO method, as search engine optimization doesn’t (and shouldn’t) have a single method to success. True SEO success comes with a combination of many different elements & platforms, high-quality & unique content, manual posting of all aspects, and enough patience & effort to see the task through. Gone are the days of submitting your site to 1,000 directories for $99 for top ranking or posting a single article to an e-zine site (or press release to a PR site) and having thousands of valuable inbound links just weeks later. As Google grows, it is becoming more and more obvious that most websites’ SEO efforts need to be as well-rounded & thought-out as possible, if they wish to grow their rankings . . . and more importantly, keep them!
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