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Video: Panda 4.0 – Anatomy of the Latest Bear

Most digital marketers by now have beefed up their websites to abide by the notorious web content criteria set forth in Google's 2011 Panda algorithm (you should be nodding your head in agreement). But don't assume you're safe to flip on the auto-pilot switch (ever)—Panda 4.0 is here to keep your site on its proverbial toes.

Dive into the technical inner workings of Google's updated algorithm in this video from RKG Senior Search Analyst Ben Goodsell.


Ben Goodsell: Hey, welcome to the RKG Blog for another video. I'm Ben Goodsell, Senior Search Analyst over here at RKG. I'm going to be talking about the Technical Inner Workings of Panda.

Panda was Google's attempt to combat the manipulation of search results by poor quality content, and we're talking content farms. Recently, Panda 4.0 came out, and a couple of months ago Bill Slawski, over at seobythesea.com, noticed that a patent was released with a self-proclaimed author of Panda. SEOs around the industry have been taking a look at this patent and putting out what they think is happening, and this is sort of our take on it.

It's interesting because it describes in detail how the position of individual search result listings can be negatively affected by the website that it belongs to. That is very Panda like.

There are some other pretty interesting takeaways, one of them being them talking about reference queries. When you think about a reference query, SEOs typically will say, “Okay, navigational query or branded query.” To us it kind of seems like they're using user behavior, so time from search to click, anything where the user is searching and immediately clicking on a website that they're expecting to see in a search result.

An interesting thing to know is that branded queries and navigational queries are exempt from the Panda algorithm. If Google can associate a branded term with the website, that will be exempt from any demotion from Panda.

Another interesting thought that we gather from the Panda patent is quality content is definitely looked at, so the actual content on page is looked at from a page level, and you can't really tell how detailed or to what degree, but what seemed to be sort of more of a factor was user behavior. User behavior would be a reference query, for example.

We need to be keeping track of branded more than ever. This is something that we all do, non-branded versus branded. We want to be looking at what are KPIs that we can create that are going to be looking exactly at how many people are searching specifically for our site. Then another main thing to look at is user behavior. How many people are coming through from Google search results and then immediately bouncing back? And then taking advantage of methods of recovering search query data from "not provided" in secure search using Google Webmaster Tools.

Those are some key takeaways. We're coming up with more. Tune in next time for some more thoughts and analysis on other algorithm changes and new KPIs to be looking at in the future.

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