When panda was first launched back In February 2011, it had a dramatic effect upon the Google rankings of small businesses…
…Many were crushed, some gave up on SEO, and businesses that relied upon Google heavily disappeared overnight.
The goal of panda was to battle the massive number of sites that were ranking well with content that was of low quality, duplicate or even a complete lack of content entirely.
They succeeded in this goal, and Google’s search results definitely looked better as a result.
However, the side effect to their success was that sites of less authority fell into the category that panda punished-regardless of whether their content was poor or not.
So, as a result, countless small business owners watched as their sites got crushed by the bigger branded authority sites.
It doesn’t matter that these niched down specialist sites offer a better service or lower prices; they were competing with the likes of Amazon, and were fighting a losing battle.
The same could be seen for little sites offering local services- they were getting dominated by national companies. If these national companies set up a page to target a local area based term, they can take over- much to the dismay of the small business owner that previously depended upon that phrase for new business.
Cutts acknowledged last year that panda had been damaging small business sites, but didn’t actually make it clear that Google would be taking any action to resolve it.
However, at a conference last week, he confirmed that things were going to change, and a new generation of Panda would begin.
The new panda would be a somewhat softer version of the previous, and would erase any of the damage done to small businesses, whilst maintaining the positive that the change brought in the first place.
There is no real telling when the new generation of panda will begin, but since Cutts has confirmed it, we can assume that it will start within the next few months.