News of another update to Google's algorithm has created a real buzz in the world of SEO. Webmasters, website designers, site owners and SEO gurus are often wary of changes to the Google search engine, and previous updates have seen many sites penalised. There's nothing to be concerned about if you understand and play by Google's rules. The following points will help you to appreciate what Panda 4.0 means for SEO.


Panda 4.0What is Panda 4.0?

The first Panda update was launched in 2011. Penguin and Hummingbird updates have followed in more recent years. In addition to major initiatives like Panda, Google are constantly testing and tweaking their search engine. Some people are paranoid that Google are out to deliberately harm the ranking of their sites, but this really isn't the case. Google's objective is simply to offer a great user experience, and this means refining their search engine to consistently return relevant results of the best possible quality.


How Will Panda 4.0 Impact SEO?

The original Panda update targeted sites with duplicate content. This remains one of the key objectives of the Panda initiative, but it's become increasingly sophisticated. One of the main concerns about Panda was that content repeated over several pages for genuine reasons could result in a penalty. For example, shipping information on an online store may need to appear across a number of pages. Research so far indicates that Panda 4.0 is able to deal with these situations more accurately. The key point remains that Google rewards sites with fresh, original content. The emphasis is always on quality.


Is Panda 4.0 Bad News for Small Businesses?

Some SEO experts have claimed that previous Google updates have worked in favor of larger companies. It's true that large businesses have the budgets and resources to deal with changes like Panda 4.0, but that doesn't mean smaller enterprises suffer. If your site is simply a list of products for sale you need to develop a plan to make it more attractive to search engines. Adding articles, pictures and video clips can all help to improve a site's ranking. Adding a blog to your site and links from social media are other easy ways to protect your small business site from suffering loss of traffic.


Who Are The Winners and Losers?

Previous Google updates have been more about penalising poor quality sites, but Panda 4.0 also seems to be rewarding those playing by the rules. As well as having quality content, Google rewards sites with a good structure and clear navigation. If your website is struggling for traffic, it may be time to start again with a new design. Search engines are too sophisticated to beat with tactics like keyword stuffing and content taken from elsewhere.


What's Next?

Although Google remains the number one search engine, competition is growing. Use of social media sites like Twitter for finding content is on the increase. Google are having to adapt to new technology and trends. Increasing use of smartphones and mobile technology are changing the way people use search engines. Keeping up with changes in the world of SEO may seem like a minefield, but the basic rules remain the same. Provide your visitors and users with a good experience and ultimately you will be rewarded. Choosing a creative website design will provide the perfect foundations for successful website.


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