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What Google’s Panda 4.0 Update Means for Your Ecommerce Site

11 July 2014 by Debbie Hopkins


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A few weeks ago, Google Webspam supremo Matt Cutts announced that his company had rolled out a new update to its Panda search algorithm:


What is Google Panda 4.0?

Google Panda was first launched back in 2011. It was a change to the algorithm that Google uses to determine which web pages feature in search results.

It aimed to provide users with more relevant search results by promoting the pages that offered a strong online experience and demoting those that were explicitly out to manipulate Google without helping customers.

Panda targeted websites that were:

  • ‘Stuffing’ keywords in unnaturally to content and meta data

  • Thin on written content

  • Displaying a lot of irrelevant adverts above the fold

  • Linked to from other ‘spammy’ websites

  • Slow to load

Affecting around 7% of all English searches, Google Panda 4.0 has become one of the most significant Panda updates since 1.0 in 2011. It continued Google’s crusade for quality search results and the sites that it will have affected are similar to those that have been persecuted in the last few years.

What does the Panda 4.0 update mean for ecommerce sites?

What was noteworthy about Panda 4.0 wasn’t just its impact, but the type of sites that it impacted.

Matt Cutts suggested that this Panda would be “softer” than previous updates and offer help to smaller businesses and brands – including those that had been persecuted by the initial Panda algorithm who had since cleaned up their act.

Search expert Alan Bleiweiss tweeted two examples of sites that had made their web pages more user friendly since being negatively affected in 2011.


eBay was one of the biggest losers from Panda 4.0. According to a Moz blog, the auction site lost its position as one of the internet’s most prominent brands. On May 18th there were only 5 other websites that had more first-page rankings than eBay.

On 20th May, eBay was 25th.

That eBay has lost so many top-page rankings for primiarily transactional search terms can only be a good thing for a variety of eCommerce sites – especially if they have detailed, user-centric landing pages.

What your eCommerce website needs in a post-Panda environment

If you’re looking to grow your brand, it’s now important than ever to have an eCommerce site that’s giving Google what it wants to see. In this post-Panda world, your website needs to have:

  • A consistently-updated blog that’s relevant to your customers

  • No duplicate content in site copy or meta information

  • Around 300 words of original, helpful content on product and landing pages

  • Fast design that focuses on easy navigation and user engagement

  • Minimal, unobtrusive advertising

Want a beautiful website that doesn’t disappoint Google? Talk to TheGenieLab today

We can help you build a website that engages users and boost your bottom line. Call us today on or talk to us on (UK) +44 (0) 2920 837 438 or (US) +1 305-762-0130 or on our website's live chat. 

(Image: George Lu under CC BY 2.0)


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