May 2014 witnessed the fourth Panda update with well known companies like eBay and digitaltrends losing out, so what does this mean and how will it affect your website?

Matt Cutts, Google’s Head of Webspam, announced the release of the Panda 4.0 update via his Twitter feed. Initially called “Farmer Update”, it was rolled out in the US in February 2011 and globally in August of the same year. The update aims to push pages with poor content and spam from the search results.

What is a Panda Update?

The purpose of a Panda update is to help cut out spam webpages that publish duplicate, thin and useless content for the purpose of getting more search traffic from Google. Google claims that its number one goal is to make sure readers go to the highest quality webpages and to bury results for low-quality sites.

Will the Panda update affect your website?

Panda is unlikely to affect your website unless you have thin content or large amounts of content that is copied from another website. Readers want to see useful, quality content, not just something that is already out there and has been rewritten hundreds of times before.

Why were eBay and Digitaltrends penalised?

From looking at eBay’s pages my guess is that the most likely reason for their latest google hit where they lost a massive 80% of organic traffic was down to their thin content and doorway pages.

Doorway pages are web pages that are created for spamdexing. This is for spamming the index of a search engine by inserting results for phrases with the purpose of sending visitors to a different page. They are also known as bridge pages, portal pages, jump pages, gateway pages, entry pages and by other names. Doorway pages that redirect visitors without their knowledge and usually falls under Black Hat SEO.






  • eBay’s own, internal search results
  • Ads – text ads, display ads and PLAs
  • Internal links to other product results page


How can I tell if my content is good quality and original?

You can find your site’s top content from the reports in Google Analytics. You’ll find out how often people visit each page of your site, how long they stay and how often they convert. You can find your report in the content section. Another way of finding out if your content is any good is by looking at the likes and shares through social networking sites such as Twitter, Facebook and Google+. Make sure you run every article you publish through a plagiarism checker such as Copyscape, this will pick up any unoriginal content. A common mistake often made by writers is that forget or fail to quote their sources when citing a quote.