It has been more than three weeks since Google first released Google Panda 4.1 - the search engine's 27th algorithm update since it was the first introduced - but due to its slow rollout, only now can its results start to be analysed.
Google launched Panda in February 2011, to target low quality sites or sites than consisted of 'thin' or superficial content and return higher quality sites closer to the top of the search results on Page One. Twenty six updates and refreshes have followed as more elements continue to be added to it.
The latest update is considered significant enough in the SEO world to be called 4.1.
Pierre Far, a Webmaster Trend Analyst at Google, confirmed on his Google Plus account last month that Google had 'started a rolllout of an improved Panda algorithm' with 'around 3-5 per cent of queries affected'.
Far also stated that, based on webmaster and user feedback, Google has been 'able to discover a few more signals to help Panda to identify low quality content more precisely'. Of course, Google are not making those 'few more signals' public knowledge but Far did say that the algorithm change should benefit SMEs who continue to produce high quality content on a regular basis.
Equally, sites that might be creating content, which is not of a good quality, may find they have received a drop in their search rankings. According to research by SearchMetrics, news and content-based sites have been benefited most presumably because these are updated with new, well-written high quality on a regular basis, while musical lyric sites, gaming sites and medical sites are said to have been hit hardest because the content is classed as low quality, 'thin' content which has little or no value or duplicate content that has been repeated on other sites.
The Panda 4.1 update is important because it highlights how essential content marketing is to any SEO strategy, now and in the future. Producing new and high-quality content on a regular basis is a must if a business wants to continue receiving the lion's share of traffic from Google. This includes regularly updating a company blog, creating useful content that your customers will find useful and producing in-depth copy on your products and/or services that is original and compelling.
Google released its last update to Panda in May, 2014 and it predicted that Panda 4.2 could be as early as December this year or January 2015, so if a business is starting out with content marketing strategy now it may not be long before they see results and their search rankings improve.