Think Panda 4.2 is an Insignificant Update? 2-3% Means Millions of Search Results with Altered Rankings
After months of speculation, Google quietly rolled out an official Panda refresh on July 18, 2015. Dubbed “Panda 4.2,” the latest iteration comes almost ten months after the release of Panda 4.1. (In case you’ve forgotten, the original Google Panda algorithm was first released in February 2011, and is designed to be a site-wide action that lowers the rankings of “thin” or low quality sites and improve the rankings of higher quality sites on Google’s SERPs.)
According to a blog post recently published by design and online marketing outsourcing company, Endlessrise (@EndlessRise_Inc), Panda 4.2’s rollout “was never officially announced by Google”. In fact, Search Engine Land’s news editor, Barry Schwartz, had to ask Google’s Gary Illyes to confirm on Twitter that Panda was indeed undergoing another update. [See Figure 1]
“Google’s Panda updates have been diminishing in frequency, and the last confirmed update was Panda 4.1, which was released on September 25, 2014 (almost ten months before the release of Panda 4.2). Google has also confirmed that Panda 4.2 will affect 2-3% of English language queries,” noted Paul Stinemetz, President and CEO of Endlessrise.
Panda 4.2’s Rollout is Going to Be Extremely Slow
Google has confirmed that Panda 4.2’s rollout is going to be much slower than previous iterations, and the rollout will be complete several months from now rather than several days or weeks. “In other words, if your [sites] have been impacted positively or negatively by Panda 4.2, [you won’t] know for sure until the entire rollout is complete several months from now,” noted Stinemetz.
Google has become increasingly secretive about its search algorithms, and failed to divulge too many details about the delay. When asked for the reason behind the slow rollout, webmaster Trends Analyst, John Mueller, cited an undisclosed “internal issue” related to “technical reasons” as the cause for the slow rollout.
To Avoid Getting Penalized by Panda, Webmasters Need to Follow Google’s Recommended Guidelines
Few webmasters noticed a dramatic drop or increase in their website and web pages’ traffic from Google after Panda 4.2 began its rollout in July due to the delay. (Instead, changes in organic rankings will gradually become apparent until the rollout is complete.)
For site owners who want to improve or maintain their sites’ rankings in the search results, Google still maintains the same recommendations it gave webmasters in May 2011. Google still expects web pages to contain high-quality and trustworthy content that has been preferably written by subject matter experts. Moreover, content should strive to provide useful information to its target audience, and should not be created with the aim of “appeasing” search algorithms or to rank on the search results.
Is 2-3% of Search Queries a Big Deal? Yes It Is!
As Stinemetz has pointed out, while 2-3% might not seem like a great number of search queries, considering the billions of searches that are conducted on Google Search each month, “just one in 50 (2%) will lead to millions of search results with altered rankings.”
Have you noticed any significant drops or increases in your site’s traffic from Google Search?
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