Earlier this week, Google rolled out Panda 4.0 and Pay Day 2.0. These updates to the search algorithm were touted as being designed to further reduce the ranking of low-quality and spammy content. According to analysis by Searchmetrics, Panda and Pay Day did just this, with websites that offer undifferentiated content suffering in terms of overall ranking.
However, Panda did not just punish websites: various major websites actually increased their rank in Google Search as a result of the change in algorithm. From the study:
Some sites that should be potentially on the Panda loser list have actually shown a positive development. This could be the “learning from mistakes” (also from others), as some of these candidates have (now) written their own content. The losers on the other hand, tend to show syndicated content or even duplicate content. But this doesn’t mean that this is the end of the update. Google proofed in the past that they are able to perform improvements or rollbacks really fast. So we will see what will happen over the next weeks.
Google is constantly tweaking their algorithms to fight SEO and spam, and so to provide the most relevant answers to queries. Panda 4.0 and Pay Day 2.0 were both relatively major updates, and their long-term effects won’t be known for some time. These early results are based on a relatively small data set, so we should know more about the consequences of the updates in the next few months.