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Google Panda Update Gets Another Refresh, Affecting 1.6% Of Queries

Google tweets link to original Panda post

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Google Panda Update Gets Another Refresh, Affecting 1.6% Of Queries
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Google has pushed out another Panda Update. The company tweeted about it as the weekend got underway, saying that about 1.6% of queries are “noticeably affected”.

Panda refresh rolling out now. Only ~1.6% of queries noticeably affected. Background on Panda: http://t.co/Z7dDS6qc 2 days ago via web ·  Reply ·  Retweet ·  Favorite · powered by @socialditto

The tweet links to the original announcement about the update (from before the public even knew it by the name Panda). Given that Google pointed to this article, it might be worth stepping back, and revisiting Google’s own explanation of the update.

The post was from Google’s Matt Cutts and Amit Singhal. “Our goal is simple: to give people the most relevant answers to their queries as quickly as possible,” the post began. “This requires constant tuning of our algorithms, as new content—both good and bad—comes online all the time.”

“Many of the changes we make are so subtle that very few people notice them,” it continued. “But in the last day or so we launched a pretty big algorithmic improvement to our ranking—a change that noticeably impacts 11.8% of our queries—and we wanted to let people know what’s going on. This update is designed to reduce rankings for low-quality sites—sites which are low-value add for users, copy content from other websites or sites that are just not very useful. At the same time, it will provide better rankings for high-quality sites—sites with original content and information such as research, in-depth reports, thoughtful analysis and so on.”

Obviously, many algorithmic changes have been made since then, including quite a few to Panda itself. How much do you think Google’s results have improved over that time? Are they better?

“We can’t make a major improvement without affecting rankings for many sites,” the post went on. “It has to be that some sites will go up and some will go down. Google depends on the high-quality content created by wonderful websites around the world, and we do have a responsibility to encourage a healthy web ecosystem. Therefore, it is important for high-quality sites to be rewarded, and that’s exactly what this change does.”

Many, many sites did indeed go down. Some clearly deserved to do so, but for others, this was questionable. Granted, some were able to make recoveries, and Google admitted that the algorithm was not perfect.

For most of the time since Panda initially launched, Google had one main help thread, where webmasters could vent their frustration and state their claims as to why they felt their site was unjustly penalized by the algorithm. Google made it clear that they were reading the thread. Earlier this month, however, the thread got split up, though the company still encourages posting and finding old posts via search. Things just might not be as convenient as they were under one centralized thread.

Prior to the new Panda refreshed, as tweeted by Google, the last Panda update, in February, improved how Panda interacts with Google’s indexing and ranking systems. Google said it was “more integrated into our pipleines”. Google also said it was made “more accurate and more sensitive to recent changes on the web.”

View our extensive library of Panda Update coverage here.

Image credit: Rick Bucich

Google Panda Update Gets Another Refresh, Affecting 1.6% Of Queries
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  • http://www.libertymarketing.co.uk Liberty Online Marketing

    We are definitely seeing different rankings today for a number of clients, as the sites around them have shifted a fair bit. A lot more than 1.6% of searches are different.

  • http://www.LAokay.com Steven G

    I’m seeing our rankings climb more over time as we keep on implementing changes to our sites that get users to stay on longer times on our sites and view more pages. This in turn is key to using user interaction with our sites to boost our page rankings.

    However what concerns me is what Google calls “query bounce rates”, where a user is not just clicking on the first result, but clicking on other results as well, not necessarily because they didn’t find what they were looking for, but because they want to make sure there isn’t anything else that other sites may have to offer that the first result may not have. So this creates signal noise in turn which Google collects and uses for or against a site, depending if more people tend to click on more results just to see if there is more information that differs from the first result they clicked on or not.

  • http://digital-marketing-contest.blogspot.com DigitalMarketingContest2012

    yeah off course most of the site keywords are dropped due to this google panda latest update. A lot more than 1.6% of searches are different. But I don’t know how google consider has good site I mean value site or not. See here is the google statement “It has to be that some sites will go up and some will go down” this is the straight statement google has given.

    • http://www.LAokay.com Steven G

      Basically what Google has been doing is factoring in more realtime data such as current overall bounce rate, ad space above the fold vs content of the page, and query bounce rate (when visitors tend to continue clicking on more results after yours), and how often they actually click on a page that leads them to one of your pages, matters more now than ever. The way Google has always worked is that certain signals will have more affect on rankings one way or the other than some of the other signals. Google is basically playing with exactly how much each signal is given rank juice over the other signals. They’re trying to find a balance in which sites pretty much have to hit that sweet spot with most signals so that nobody can game the system by only focusing on say word count vs query match while their visitors are telling Google by their actions that the site isn’t such high quality, say by bouncing on most pages, or spending very little time on each page, or whatever other signals they may use of visitor behavior, including query bounce rates.

  • http://www.zhetainternational.com Steve

    Incredible – Google used to take months, if not a year or so to issue updates on its algorithm. Now, they are getting very often.

    We are issuing interpretations of Google Panda 3.3 at http://www.zhetainternational.com/en/company/blog/beating-google-panda-part-1.html

    Anyway … anyone got more details regarding the 3.4 update and how it will affect the SERPs?

  • http://www.topicbay.com TopicBay

    I love Panda,and it’s relentless quest for quality, original content.

  • http://www.ticketreview.net TicketReview

    I think my site has been affected by this update, all rankings have gone down since yesterday.

  • Seojunkie

    I know my niche and I know which sites are high quality and which are crap quality. Panda failed to lift the ones with high quality and weed out the ones of low quality. The crappier, spammier sites actually got higher rankings. This is about my niche, I dont know if in others Panda does a better job I do not track every niche.

  • http://www.how2media.co.uk How2Media

    I just can’t believe the Google hype around “quality content” being rewarded. We have sites that are packed with useful industry content that has been created bespokely whilst other sites with very little in the way of content are being rewarded.

    Looking at the most recent updates, urls seem to be having a huge bearing on rankings, not the content within the urls!

    Sort it out Google or at least reflect what you are preaching.

  • Ray Burns

    Too bad fat boy doesn’t spend as much time doing his job as he does being an assclown for the camera. Matt Cutts is a joke…

  • http://www.facebook.com/pages/Brick-Marketing-SEO-and-SEM-Firm/14204584980 Nick Stamoulis

    It’s unfortunate that Google can’t definitely come out and say this, this, and this will hurt your site, while that, that and that will help. What is “good” content? What is just “okay?” The guidelines are incredibly helpful, but because it’s night clearly defined many site owners are having a hard time figuring out where they went wrong.

    • http://www.TheOkayNetwork.com Steve G

      That is why you need site analytics such as what Google Analytics provides to be able to tell what visitors are doing that tell you that you are doing a good or bad job. Keywords and link building only get you so far if your visitors don’t like your pages and their behavior while on your site could be telling you what Google already knows.

  • http://www.siteofbooks.com Nikhil Saliya

    Basically what Google has been doing is factoring in more realtime data such as current overall bounce rate, ad space above the fold vs content of the page, and query bounce rate (when visitors tend to continue clicking on more results after yours), and how often they actually click on a page that leads them to one of your pages, matters more now than ever. The way Google has always worked is that certain signals will have more affect on rankings one way or the other than some of the other signals. Google is basically playing with exactly how much each signal is given rank juice over the other signals. They’re trying to find a balance in which sites pretty much have to hit that sweet spot with most signals so that nobody can game the system by only focusing on say word count vs query match while their visitors are telling Google by their actions that the site isn’t such high quality, say by bouncing on most pages, or spending very little time on each page, or whatever other signals they may use of visitor behavior, including query bounce rates.

  • http://queencitywebhosting.com J.T.

    I have been out of the loop for a while due to an extended illness so I’m a bit behind in the game. First I do agree with Google’s move on vast artificial blog networks but there seems to be something else new. That would be “link wheels”. Does anyone know Google’s view on those?

  • http://www.wowplussizedresses.com berry desouza

    YA, this update will give effect on many websites. now local search will give also benefit and with this many websites ranking will go on below.

  • Andrew

    Beside having an AdWords account and a big wallet what makes a site to be of high quality for Google?

  • http://www.medzpro.com MedzPro

    well, the OLD SEO is no more, we must adapt to survive

  • Larry

    Google is full of crap and these changes have nothing to do with weeding out poor quality sites from others. In my industry many of the crappier sites have been rewarded just like others have mentioned here while the valued one have dropped. Spend a few more dollars on ad words and you will move back up.

  • http://www.seolandmark.com seo landmark

    We have experience some drop of ranking for some of our clients website

  • http://www.caffeinemedi.co.uk Caffeine Marketing

    Our results have definately improved and our clients have seen good positive results