Google Panda 4.0 Is Working

Monday, we saw Matt Cutts offer this tweet:

There was some blather about imminent updates happening at Google, but we’ve gotten so used to no big announcements about Panda or Penguin that this one was a tad surprising to those of you who aren’t into SEO as much as well… I am.

What does it do?

It’s another spam catcher. Since we know that Panda is self-educating, it’s actually updating all the time, but for Cutts to announce this newest change, it has to be important. (Meaning algorithm change.)

This was a global roll-out, so all languages are affected. For English, it supposedly affected only 7.5% of all queries. Uh-huh. That’s what they said about Penguin and so many of us were caught in its beak, it wasn’t funny.

If you’ve noticed a change in your organic traffic rankings, either up or down, Panda 4.0 may be the culprit or the angel. I haven’t seen much going on just yet, but I’m wondering and waiting.

I know that one of my clients had a slight down-turn 2 weeks ago, before this happened. And yet, I think I found the answer to that and it has nothing to do with Google.

This is kind of interesting, so I’ll share:

One site with high page rank had linked to my client’s site approximately 4,000 times. OK, so sitewide link, not terribly valuable. But… the site that was linking back was on a blog service. The service shut down so the linking site went to its own domain. Apparently, the webmaster didn’t take the time to redirect links or they only redirected some of them or they did redirect all of them and it’s just taking Google time to catch up.

But here’s the interesting part: I’m seeing about half the links are back and my client’s traffic came back proportionately, too. About half the backlinks are showing now and about half the missing traffic is back.

So, go figure. The correlation seems evident. And yet, sitewide links are supposed to be useless. Hmm… Maybe because they were from a site with a PR5? No idea. But figuring out these mysteries of Google are interesting in that when you think something should zag, it zigs.

Anyway, if you’ve noticed any Panda hijinks with your site, let me know in comments. I’d love to get some extra intel on this. Thanks!