Ralf Schulz
By Ralf Schulz | SEO | October 8, 2014

Panda 4.1: Did you Win or Lose?

Google-Panda-4.1-Rolled-Out-2014Let’s start with the basics: what is Panda? Besides being an adorable animal, Panda is an algorithm filter that is designed to penalize poor (or “thin”as Google likes to say) content. Panda’s emphasis is not on the quantity of content, but rather on quality and relevancy.

That being said, Panda 4.1 has a motivating goal to give smaller and medium-quality websites the opportunity to outrank larger sites. This gives the incentive for sites to perform SEO in a way that avoids irrelevant, repetitive content and spam from its index. From what we’ve seen from Panda updates in the past, this is nothing new.

Why Panda 4.1? Because Panda 4.0 was released as a major update which affected approximately 7.5% of all search. Given that this latest update is relatively minor, it didn’t make much sense to title it Panda 5 (although I’m sure Panda 5 in the works as we speak).

What we need to know

The roll out was implemented around the 25th of September and was shared publicly by Pierre Far at Google UK. The post read as follows:

“Earlier this week, we started a slow rollout of an improved Panda algorithm, and we expect to have everything done sometime next week.

Based on user (and webmaster!) feedback, we’ve been able to discover a few more signals to help Panda identify low-quality content more precisely. This results in a greater diversity of high-quality small- and medium-sized sites ranking higher, which is nice.

Depending on the locale, around 3-5% of queries are affected.”

Winners and Losers

I’ve turned to data provided to us from Search Metrics taken the day after the update. Below, I’ve included the top 5 winners and losers. Please click on the provided links to view the data on Search Metrics Site. However, I must remind you that this data is purely based on organic visibility for each domain. I also want to add that any type of gained or lost data isn’t necessarily attributable to Panda – it could be a result of technical issues or other internal updates made to the site.


    Domain – Loser    Before    After  Change in %
yellow.com 163833413-79%
similarsites.com 11877125197-79%
free-coloring-pages.com 122682960-76%
dwyer-inst.com 132253229-76%
issitedownrightnow.com 6935418376-74%



  Domain – Winner    Before    After  Change in %
comdotgame.com 2632382311353%
hongkiat.com 13568372406%
babble.com 896342916379%
rd.com 1720971434315%
mediamass.net 683927876308%

Let us know if you saw any change in your metrics after the 25th of September!


To save myself from repetition, websites with thin content saw a negative effect. For example, websites with games, lyrics, and some medical portals showed a large loss. On the other hand, sites with quality content saw gains. These included sites for news, download portals, and obviously content-based sites.

We are always interested to hear more about your experiences with Google’s frequent algorithm changes. Let us know in the comments section what changes you might be experiencing with their latest update.

Thanks for reading and happy optimizing.

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