Google's Matt Cutts: Panda 4.0 Has A New Architecture With A Softer Side...

May 26, 2014 • 8:33 am | comments (55) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization

Google Panda 4.0Last Tuesday, when Google pushed out Google Panda 4.0, Matt Cutts implied that gentler for some sites but it does lay the groundwork to future changes in the direction of a softer and gentler Panda algorithm.

Now, Matt Cutts, Google's head of search spam, said it in black and white on Twitter. In response to @Marie_Haynes's question, Matt wrote:

Think of it like P4 is a new architecture. Brings in some of the softer side, but also lays groundwork for future iteration.

Again, we said this originally, but it is nice to have it in a Tweet from Cutts himself.

So clearly, Panda 4.0, is a huge update to the algorithm. If the ~7.5% impact on English queries did not tip you off to that, then this message should.

I hope this means that even more updates to Panda will help more sites recover.

Again, please take our Panda 4.0 poll if you have not. I'll share the results in a week or so.

Forum discussion at Twitter.

Previous story: Google's Head Of Search Gets Card From Church: Google Can't Solve Every Search...


F1 Steve

05/26/2014 12:37 pm

Great news Barry! It only took them several years to admit they got it wrong and soften it! Now they need to do the same with Penguin and get back to having a positive PR!

Marie Haynes

05/26/2014 01:29 pm

I'm seeing a few sites that made "recoveries" without doing any work. But in my opinion these were sites that never should have been hit with Panda in the first place. It also seems like some content farms that previously survived Panda are now getting affected. It does indeed seem like the whole algorithm was rewritten.

Larissa Hadley

05/26/2014 02:18 pm

This panda update refines more seo algorithm every one should do white hat SEO now.

Jeff Ostroff

05/26/2014 02:20 pm

Actually Google is still not admitting they got it wrong, Matt Cutts is just saying there's a "softer side" of the algorithm. There are still plenty of sites they are still getting it wrong with now, and plenty of sites that should have been penalized but never were. They really need to improve the removal of scraper sites from the index, and improve their ability to correctly tell what sites have authority in their field.

Jeff Ostroff

05/26/2014 02:25 pm

Marie, are you sure you did not make any changes months ago, that finally got re-crawled which led to improvement? Google has repeatedly reminded us over the past year that when you see an improvement or a reduction in ranking the day after a new Panda release, it's not because of a snapshot Google did from yesterday, it's from a snapshot that was made a few months before, but the new algorithm was applied yesterday for example. So we might think we did nothing to help when in fact some minor change we made that helped was done months before. Might this be the case with your sites?

Durant Imboden

05/26/2014 02:30 pm

Panda 4.0 has been kind to us, so I'm not complaining, but I'd be interested in knowing what "softer" means in relation to Panda. Softer in what respect, and toward whom? For example, does Panda 4.0 reflect the work that a Google engineer was doing to make the algorithm friendlier to "smaller Web sites and small businesses"? If so, is it really "softer," or does it simply give less weight to the signals given off by million-page megasites?


05/26/2014 02:43 pm

If you do white hat then your site won't rank easily and if you will do blackhat then your site won't stay on first page for long time or should be penalized. then what to do?

Stuart David

05/26/2014 02:43 pm



05/26/2014 02:49 pm

That shows that nothing will work permanent results? Yes you're right that building high number of links won't work for any sites. Only high authority and niche relevant links will work to get long term results.

Marie Haynes

05/26/2014 03:00 pm

The particular site that I control is one with really good content. But, the architecture is confusing to crawlers. I believe that's why Panda affected it. It got knocked down by a number of Panda updates. I was too busy with client work to work on my own site and as it's more of a hobby I did not make any changes other than to occasionally answer a question. (It's a Q&A site with about 3000 questions on it - all high quality and heavily moderated.) The other sites where I've heard of recoveries despite no work being done are not ones that are mine or clients of mine...just hearsay. So, I can't make any obvious conclusions. I am certain that some sites saw recovery because they worked hard to clear up Panda issues. But, I think that because the structure of Panda completely changed, there are some sites that were wrongly hit to start with that perhaps are no longer affected with P4.0.

Marie Haynes

05/26/2014 03:00 pm

Raj, as far as we know, Panda is not about link quality, but rather, on page quality.

Don Dikaio

05/26/2014 03:22 pm

Just do what a competitor in one of my verticals are doing, build hundreds of sites knowing they will be dropped eventually but not care because you own the board with sites that come and go. - edit


05/26/2014 03:37 pm

The previous iteration of Panda was rolled into the main algos so if you did loads of work and only recovered with this latest panda it was not due to the work done but due to the looser panda. When google sees the dust settle they will decide if they like what they see or not and can tighten or loosen some more. Again, this will not be due to work you have done but rather given or taken at googles mercy. All these stories of people crying over how much work they have done to recover mean nothing because if they had done nothing at all they may well of had the exact same result.

Michael Martinez

05/26/2014 03:43 pm

"If you do white hat then your site won't rank easily..." Nonsense.

Yo Mamma

05/26/2014 03:45 pm

Notice that Google Search didn't change their picture in remembrance of Memorial day? I personally like the hard side of Google. I like it because its spelling the end of the evil one

Yo Mamma

05/26/2014 03:50 pm

Google hates SEO. Google loves Adwords. Buy Google stocks! But Adwords! Do not pay for evil SEO. Google is Good


05/26/2014 03:51 pm

Oh you retard don't know this shit! Then shut up your mouth!


05/26/2014 06:29 pm

Please don't be so aggressive guys. Michael just a question. A client with 10 pages website. No content creation for viral sharing. What will you do for offsite SEO? Guest blogging was great. It was white hat SEO in books for years and now? Google can't say anything certain. MR Matt said no chance for PR update in 2013. It comes at end of the year. Google is big.

Durant Imboden

05/26/2014 07:05 pm

On the home page, I'm seeing a U.S. flag and a yellow ribbon. But never mind that: I'm more interested in whether they'll honor Ascension Day on Thursday. (Will they risk dissing Jesus?)

Barry Schwartz

05/26/2014 07:06 pm

It was just added within the hour.


05/26/2014 07:36 pm

Is anyone else getting annoyed looking at those pandas lately? Why are there 5 pandas in the image? Do you know something we don't Barry? I bet you have a super-secret inside scoop on Panda 5 don't you?


05/26/2014 07:41 pm

That's the whole point, they are culling the herd. If you're strong enough to keep with it then you'll be fine in the end. If you want really dedicated webmasters with good content give them no traffic and see if they survive. It's part of their algorithm don'tchaknow.

Yo Mamma

05/26/2014 08:35 pm

It was added later :-) See Barry, they take notes!

Yo Mamma

05/26/2014 08:36 pm

Added later in the day

Maria Marry

05/26/2014 08:38 pm

No no I am not agree with that because of


05/27/2014 03:44 am

Barry, in your poll I think you are missing "recovered but not yet back to pre Panda stats" which I think will be a very popular option and I didnt really see it in the poll.

Michael Martinez

05/27/2014 03:55 am

"What will you do for offsite SEO?" Who says you have to do offsite SEO? There are other ways to market Websites.

Michael Martinez

05/27/2014 03:55 am

Raj, go learn real SEO and then come back and play with the big boys.


05/27/2014 09:17 am

Im off to mobel india to buy some spam for my tea. Would anybody else like me to pick some up?

Ghamdan Hassan

05/27/2014 10:03 am

I think you must do Grey hat SEO to get ranked better than white hat but safer than black hat. AndroidScouter

Craig Hamilton-Parker

05/27/2014 10:48 am

Good point - my keyword ranks have increased and my traffic has doubled but I am still absolutely nowhere near my pre-panda traffic. (Remain about 90% down) My traffic seems to get to a certain point and then flat-lines as if it is being chopped down like a lawn when it reaches a certain level.

Stephane Brault

05/27/2014 12:11 pm

Panda 5 will penalize every website that has content.

Art L

05/27/2014 12:17 pm

You should learn some manners, then learn what SEO is, then decide if you think you can handle doing SEO instead of spam, then come back and try to insult professionals like Martinez.


05/27/2014 12:52 pm

I think your hat color should match your skill level at SEO. So really bad SEO´s like you would have a nice burnt umber hat (burnt umber is like a shitty brown color) and then we could just spot you in the street and cross over to the other side.

Ben Guest

05/27/2014 02:17 pm

Interesting eBay rumor going around about eBay dropping out of Adwords then here comes the Panda which is now being called Pro-Adwords 4.0. However, from what I'm seeing (not reading), in one of the industries we help someone in, the big boy is always #1 regardless if they have the keyword on page or not. Then as you look around Sponsored Ads, they are no where to be seen. So to me, that debunks this Pro-Adwords 4.0 rumor. However, again, this isn't an industry the Goog competes in. Hmmmmmm... Disclaimer: My tinfoil hat assisted with this post.


05/27/2014 04:38 pm

Our traffic week of may 12-18 vs may 19-25 -81.63% 29,013 vs 157,978 Users -81.06% 27,705 vs 146,280 Pageviews -81.52% 43,589 vs 235,817 oh by the way traffic down 80% since first animal strike. Our AdSense click through percentage has always been around 2% Our 20 year old pioneer web site.. is sinking into panda shit...we don't use seo, spam, any color hats... lots of original content, lots of relevant manufacturer releases, lots of data, lots of video and audio..softer panda my ass.. if Google keeps this up...helt matt... you are screwing with our livelihood, get your shit on track..

Ghamdan Hassan

05/27/2014 07:25 pm

Thanks for the info, it seems you have color fascination

Ben Guest

05/27/2014 07:49 pm

Are you sure you're not being scraped?


05/27/2014 08:13 pm

I did not understand this panda 4.0 Some sites Occupies the first rank with Pictures do not work in the subject And there are no words Competition In the title, link and meta Repeat some results in the first page and 2 page What is this, What happens ???


05/27/2014 08:24 pm

we think we are... same thing happened in all panda iterations...the firsh had our stories on scrappers and not on our site...huh?

Ben Guest

05/27/2014 08:49 pm

You definitely want to know Bob. There is a bunch of things you can do: 1.) Have you used Copyscape? It'll check the web for dups: 2.) If you use Wordpress as your CMS, they have trackbacks where you can identify them quickly. 3.) RSS Feed? Block their IP address in htaccess using Rewrite because that's how they can easily steal your content almost as soon as you post it. 4.) Set up Google Alerts to monitor your content. 5.) GWT can identify them through "Links to Your Site". 6.) You may want the content to stay in some cases as they may syndicate the content for you, or the links in your content will link back to your site creating backlinks (use absolute URLs not relative for this). This is obviously rare. 7.) Catch someone, file a DMCA with the major SEs. Here's Google's: Hope this helps!


05/27/2014 08:49 pm

Sadly it is Craig. You have a ceiling. You may have other factors working against your esteemed site. Sad to see such a good site suppressed.


05/27/2014 08:52 pm

Sadly that is actually not far from the truth I remember this quote a Schmidtism "Google does not want your site to rank well" Ain't that the truth.


05/27/2014 09:07 pm

Thanks Ben... we will try your suggestions... seems like right before we loose audience we have a you think Matt and his boys or girls disable a panda filter in anticipation of a newer one? This seems like SOP since the first animal struck... and cost us almost 80% of our audience...


05/27/2014 09:13 pm

Hi Ben... searched for this review and came up with a page of scrapers... do you think they could be hurting us? 2014 Mitsubishi Lancer SE REview By John Heilig

Ben Guest

05/27/2014 09:27 pm

He said it's a "new architecture", and I quote, "Brings in some of the softer side, but also lays the groundwork for future iteration." Now, I do not think they disable it to implement a new one. I think they just update it with new code/filters. It's an index so you have to give it time to work itself out. That's why you see the roller coaster sometimes.

Stop Toolbars

05/27/2014 09:31 pm

Google is very smart now.... NOT. All software searches are full of spam! Search for "internet explorer for mac" and you will get 3 softonic pages! Auto-generated search result pages ranking premium! So last 5 years ago! And they serve adware! This is outrageous! Barry, can you forward this to Google, please?

Ben Guest

05/27/2014 09:38 pm

No because I just searched that phrase and you are indeed #1. And you have the URL showing a canonical relationship so that's good, too. Google is seeing you as the originator at least concerning this page: And as I mentioned, this site is syndicating your content: As Google states, "If you syndicate your content on other sites, Google will always show the version we think is most appropriate for users in each given search, which may or may not be the version you'd prefer. However, it is helpful to ensure that each site on which your content is syndicated includes a link back to your original article. You can also ask those who use your syndicated material to use the noindex meta tag to prevent search engines from indexing their version of the content." Source: I have to go now, but will respond later if you need more help.

Craig Hamilton-Parker

05/28/2014 02:38 am

Oh dear.. So is this a manual penalty or part of the Panda algorithm?


05/28/2014 03:50 pm

Here is a page from The Auto Channel Alerts from google:


05/29/2014 04:17 am

Where is the Download button? :)

Ngan Tengyuen

05/29/2014 07:01 pm

I was badly hit by Panda 1.0, I've learned that diversifying your traffic and income is the way forward. Do not depend on Adsense, move on to other source of income. Cry as much as you want, Panda is here to stay.


05/30/2014 05:05 am

Ebay's Adwords campaign was a total disaster. They complained about not getting an ROI with Adwords even though they never even tried to optimize their campaign. If you typed in "vomit" in the search engine, there would be an Ebay ad that would say "Vomit available on Ebay! Bit now!" It was that bad. And that's just one of many, many examples. In addition, their landing pages had almost no content. Add to that, their SEO strategies were about 10 years out of date. If anyone deserved to get hammered by this update, Ebay was a front runner.

Ben Guest

05/30/2014 12:29 pm

Exactly Mike. The tinfoils always say Google's forcing people into AdWords. Like $48 billion isn't enough. :-/

Jimmy Terronez

06/10/2014 04:56 pm

The impact is huge with the new Panda update, and there are some helpful things to do now:

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