With Google announcing the roll-out of their most recent Panda update, we can understand why some business owners panicked. The first major Panda updates (there have been twenty-five now in total) struck fear in the hearts of anyone with a website—they could make or break you.
In looking back at that devastation in 2011, First Digital posted a few frantic excerpts from the webmaster forum:
Needless to say, it was pretty dire. Things that worked then—mostly quick gains—became practically penalty-worthy almost overnight. Even for only being a few years ago, the SEO landscape was way different in 2001 from what it is today.
And that’s exactly why we aren’t worried in the least this time. We’re ready for it.
Optimizing a site now has nothing to do with gaming the system anymore and everything to do with optimizing a user’s experience with that site, which in Panda’s case always means a wealth of quality, useful content.
In fact, it’s looking like Panda 4.0 might end up benefiting small businesses this time according to Matt Cutts, Google’s Head of Web Spam. They’ve softened the algorithm, too, so businesses that might have suffered before can have a chance to recover.
This time, the main losers were sites that ranked by aggregating content from other sources, just further emphasizing the “create great content” mantra, not just “post great content.” As long as you’re doing that—you’re golden.