Google has confirmed to WebProNews that an iteration of the controversial Panda update was launched this week. When asked directly if this occurred, a Google spokesperson told us, "yes," then offered the following canned statement:
“We’re continuing to iterate on our Panda algorithm as part of our commitment to returning high-quality sites to Google users. This most recent update is one of the roughly 500 changes we make to our ranking algorithms each year.”
While Google did not say a specific day, one webmaster reported that her site was hit on Wednesday, September 28th. That was Dani Horowtiz, who runs Daniweb, a Panda victim we've discussed several times before, as the site had managed a 110% Panda recovery before getting hit this week.
Search Engine Land is reporting that while Google "declined to share any specifics" about what kinds of pages were being targeted, unnamed sources said the update rolled out on Tuesday. The blog is calling this version 2.3.
Some webmasters thought maybe a Panda update had rolled out earlier this month. Search Engine Land editor Barry Schwartz asked if Panda 2.5 had hit (personally, I'm not bothering much trying to keep track of the numbers). The answer turned out to be no, as Google told him there was no update taking place. According to Search Engine Land now, this latest update is actually the first true Panda update in about 10 weeks.
Since then, Google announced that it is testing algorithmic changes for scraper sites (blog scrapers in particular). The company also released a video giving an inside look at how Google handles search algorithm tweaks:
We're only at the end of September, so go ahead and expect plenty more algo changes before the New Year. Hopefully Panda won't screw over too many e-commerce sites for the holidays. Google has been pretty good about taking it easy around the holidays since the infamous Florida update, though.