Panda is an ongoing Google algorithm update that is designed to help Google provide higher-quality search results to users. Panda specifically aims to favor sites with useful, original content while weeding out sites that contain thin, duplicate content.

Duplicate content refers to content that has been taken from other websites or that has been copied by other websites. “Thin” content is brief or nonexistent, lacking depth, detail, and accuracy.

The Panda 4.0 update started on May 19th or 20th, with changes rolling out over this past week and into next week.

1. Big sites are getting hit the hardest by this update.

For once, Google's latest algorithm update doesn't appear to be favoring big brands over small businesses. Not yet, at least. It may still be too soon to tell, but as of right now, the sites that are getting all the attention as “losers” in the wake of the update include,,,,, and others.

These sites tend to be aggregators, sites that syndicate external content rather than creating their own original content. This is a likely reason for the results.

2. Sites with high-quality content are gaining ground.

The winner are winning bigger than the losers, according to some sources. Many sites with useful, high-quality content have jumped ahead in search results. Sites that publish content designed for social media distribution seem to be fairing better as well.

3. To avoid getting hit by Panda 4.0, focus on quality.

Write and post only original, high-quality content. Never copy and paste anything from another site on the web. Go in depth with your content, and take the time to research. Cite sources where applicable. Write like you're creating an article for a major publication.

4. If you think you've been affected by Panda 4.0, review your site's content.

Conduct a “content audit” and review all pages on your site. Look for thin, duplicate content. Use to search for other sites on the web that may be using the same content you're using. Start rewriting and adding content to increase the value and originality of your site.