POV: Panda & Payday: The Aftermath

On May 20, Matt Cutts from Google announced two significant algorithm updates. We commented on the potential implications and offered a specific checklist for every brand marketer to address internally to ensure that Panda did not negatively impact them.

Over the last week, the predominantly reported news angle was that ecommerce heavyweight retail-supporting sites like RetailMeNot. However, of note, RetailMeNot challenged the reports and analyses. Further insights from tools used to investigate effects of algorithm changes like SEMRush, show a markedly smaller change than indicated by the original Searchmetrics estimates.

While those stories are interesting in relation to the impact of Google’s algorithm changes, there is a larger story to be told.

Based on where Google was already headed and the actions taken during last week’s updates, we believes Panda 4.0 and Payday 2.0 indicate the following three takeaways about the future of Google’s algorithm:

  1. Google’s quest for quality is not dead.
  2. Google is not afraid to go vertical-specific.
  3. Quality isn’t just about the sites listed.

Google is banking its future in natural search on structured data-driven semantic search, and its app-like ability to answer questions directly from its results page rather than listing sources to find information. We expect Google to focus on delivering quality answers and only enhancing information it deems to be correct and valuable. We predict Google could struggle in the next year with how to encourage more sites to use Schema.org and other techniques for rich snippets, while raising the quality threshold a site has to meet in order to earn highly visible listings.

Access our just released POV: “Panda & Payday: The Aftermath” to learn more.