Are You More Or Less Worried About Google’s Panda Update Now?

    March 19, 2013
    Chris Crum
    Comments are off for this post.

As previously reported, Google’s Matt Cutts revealed at SMX this week that Google would be pushing a refresh to its famous (or perhaps infamous) Panda update on either Friday or Monday. As of Friday, it appears that the refresh has arrived.

Have you felt the effects of the latest Panda update? Noticed any improvements in Google’s search results? Let us know in the comments.

Barry Schwartz is pointing to some forum chatter about webmasters already seeing the effects of the refresh, indicating that it has likely begun to roll out. As others have pointed out, it’s not uncommon for Google to do this on a Friday. Schwartz says signs point to the roll out starting on Thursday afternoon and into Friday.

This isn’t just your typical run of the mill Panda refresh, however. This could very well be the last time Google manually pushes one, as Panda is becoming more of a “rolling” update. Schwartz quotes Cutts from SMX:

Rather than having some huge change that happens on a given day. You are more likely in the future to see Panda deployed gradually as we rebuild the index. So you are less likely to see these large scale sorts of changes.

As of the time of this writing, Google has not made a formal announcement about this latest Panda refreshed, and it’s entirely possible that they won’t. Given the nature of Pand deployment going forward, it’s unlikely that Google will do so from here on out. We have to just accept Panda as an ongoing thing. No more anticipation of the next big Pand update. You can just count on it happening on a regular, ongoing basis. Actually, Google has come out and said that it’s unlikely to confirm Panda updates from now on.

It remains to be seen just what kind of an impact this will truly have on sites, but it’s not likely to make things much easier.

Don’t worry though, you can still anticipate the next big Penguin update, which Cutts also discussed at SMX. He said they’re working on the “next generation of Penguin,” which he is implying is going to be a big one. Google is also talking about cracking down on “bad online merchants”. It will be interesting to see how this affects ecommerce sites, and what Google really considers “bad”.

“We have a potential launch later this year, maybe a little bit sooner, looking at the quality of merchants and whether we can do a better job on that, because we don’t want low quality experience merchants to be ranking in the search results,” Cutts said about that.

We have been waiting for the next Panda/Penguin. Maybe that’s the one we’re looking at. You have to wonder how many sites it will impact. I can easily envision a firestorm of merchant freak-out.

Cutts also reportedly said Google will be targeting more link networks this year.

We’re also still waiting on Google to put out what used to be its monthly lists of algorithm changes (or “search quality highlights” if you will) for the past several months, dating back to October. This is the longest Google has gone without releasing the lists since they started doing it, which they were doing in the name of “transparency”.

Panda recently turned two years old, and opinions of Google’s search results since its implementation vary. With the latest refresh, Google has gone through 25 iterations of Panda.

Now that Google has a new approach to how it deploys Panda, are you more or less worried about its impact? Let us know in the comments.

Image: Tekken 5 (via YouTube)

  • http://www.planet40.com/ Moin Ramiz

    bad news for webmasters :(

  • http://www.ehlinelaw.com Michael Ehline

    Scary stuff man. Forcing PPC.

  • http://www.myfacehunter.com/ Emma

    Another headache for SEO ppl. i am not seeing any change yet! lets wait till monday.

  • blackseo

    It turned two years old and still dumb as f%$^! Well, less dummies in SERPS more work for Google fighting spam.

  • http://seofen.com/ Nikolay Stoyanov
  • http://cravewin.com Crave Win Marketing

    I have clients STILL trying to recover from this…

  • Sharon

    My google organic hits went down 75% after Penguin, and as of this moment my March to date is still down 75%. If my problem was Panda I think I could find and fix the problem, but Penguin???? I’ll be watching but I’m really waiting for the next big Penguin update. (fortunately hits are up quite a bit from all other sources, but the google organic is still killing me.)

  • http://www/elixirinteractive.com Fionn Downhill

    Nope, we follow their guidelines (as best we understand them) and if there’s a hit its usually not that difficult to figure out what to fix. Now Penguin thats another matter I had a site go down because of the scrapers. Removed the RSS feed from the site and tried to clean up the links and duplicate content its like pulling teeth. These people dont care. Traffic back to 50% of what it was pre-penguin.

  • http://www.logopunching.com Ashlee Alferd

    I am very worry about this penguin updates. You never know about how much sites are going down.

  • Sharon

    By the way, does anyone know what to do about pirated content and how that is affecting my site rank? Several of the “article farms” have regurgitated my articles and there does not seem to be anything I can do about it. One site in fact literally pasted my article word for word. The company is in bankruptcy and the court has “locked up” the site – no contact! Am I getting penalized then for something I can do nothing about?

  • http://www.bitronictech.net/ John Grisal

    They are just further rigging the game so that only huge companies will rank. I think its time for somebody to develop a new search engine. Google is such a monopoly.

    • Michael Davis

      I am noticing this as well. I agree.
      They are a monopoly for all intents and purposes, IMHO.
      My stores which have been build on relevance and good sound principals are going gently into that good night – but ONLY on Google.

  • http://www.allwebservices.co.uk All Web Services

    As a professional web design and marketing agency, people should not rely on Google for their business this is a road to failure. Google is not the way to go for true business success. Brand and market your business right and you will start getting more sales and your search engine rankings will rise without even trying.

  • http://buffaloriverchamber.com Michael

    I think it has helped us because we deal with a lot of scrapers. We are up over 100% YOY. I have many clients and none of them took a hit. I guess we are a different case.

  • Poppy

    Panda / Penguin are terrible updates. They are not able to discern quality content.

    Panda / Penguin actually favor low quality content – usually low quality content written by writers-for-hire on big brand websites. The big brand gets the rank, not the quality.

    It’s like if the New York Times were to get a writer to write about something he barely knew about, then it would be ranked higher than the guy who is an expert but writing on his own blog.

    • Poppy

      Actually, because it’s the NYTimes, it would be ranked very high but the expert with his own blog would be nowhere, and I mean hundreds of pages in.

      Now lets substitute the NYTimes with say, a pseudo-education site (like about.com) or an education site proper. They do use low-quality writers-for-hire to generate content. They’re certainly not experts. But their articles will rank higher than an expert with his own blog.

      This must be rectified.

  • Scott S

    I have not seen any change in my sites rankings yet! The January 22nd update shot me way up in the serp, even crappy pages with little to no content are ranking in the top 3. I think that Google has no idea of what is going on with their search engine, how many patch can you put on a flat tire before it fails totally!

    I know that when I am doing research, I am still seeing old blog post from 5 and 10 years ago coming up, non relevant crap that has been spun over and over again.

  • Suzi

    So, try searching for a company direct and, Google throws up web statistics for that company, whois for that company, for what reason i have yet to figure but completely irrelevant, how about a search engine that starts from the other side up? then all the ‘little’ people, you know the ones with the great unseen content, would stand a chance and find a way to stop all those scrapers in their tracks :)

  • http://www.fusiondiary.com Sam

    Search for ‘Kindle Model Comparison’ you will come accross a site with auto-generated content, broken links/images ranking on the first page.

    Same with searches related to product reviews, you will come accross news releases and stores ranking higher.

    As others have mentioned above bigger sites ‘by default’ appear to rank higher irrespective of the content quality.

  • http://www.computershowto.pro. Attila

    I personally welcome this update, especially the part referring to bad merchants. I have several blogs in 3 languages, and some of them deal with food supplements and weightloss supplements. We review the products, and also try to review the companies who sell them. Now, from the huge number of comments that we have seen in the facebook comment boxes on those blogs, we know for sure, that a great majority of those companies selling those pills online are outright scammers, and are a bad reputation creator for anyone and everyone involved with them.
    Therefore, I welcome any attempt of any search engine, to GET RID of all of those companies’s links from ALL search engines, and give their place to legitimate businesses who deal correctly with their customers and accept responsability for their products.

  • March

    I personally think that this is terrible update, because all of the unique content I’ve been working through years now can be found only on 5th-10th pages in Google’s search results. Before that most of the articles were in Top 10 search results. I write long and complete biographies of famous people and some of them are truly inspiring and contain interesting facts. Now when I enter “Coco Chanel biography”, I can find crappy sites with only a single paragraph about Coco Chanel’s life and that’s it. This is a very risky to rely only on Google, but I suppose people have no other way than using PPC in AdWords as Google is doing the best they can by “pushing” their AdWords to society, but no a providing relevant search results to their users.

  • Louis Charles

    Google is no longer a search engine but a publisher – it appears that over 30% of the content on the first search result page is Google or Google-related companies trying to sell you something. Results are no longer fair and relevant.
    Use BING.

  • http://www.sexysarong.com Terry

    I was wondering why the huge jump in sales!!! When Panda came out it sucked but all of a sudden my visitors have jumped by at least 50%…nice

    • http://QBike David

      I had the same experience! For five days in row, my site started ranking for hundreds of keywords I used to have. I enjoyed a 50% traffic spike. Then, starting four days ago, it reversed itself out. And now I’m back to my baseline traffic, which I’m still trying to recover from the first round of panda updates. I was so excited that my site was finally back, getting rewarded for all the content I’ve worked on for the past two years! It was just a cruel tease, though.

  • Max

    Google’s results and user experience have gone down the toilet since all of these updates. Forcing people into PPC.

  • http://dyslexiaglasses.com John Hayes

    I don’t see any difference but then I dominate a small niche , visual dyslexia glasses, and my links have been slowly growing over the years . I don’t have any advertising on my site as I don’t want my visitors bothered by that. All of my content is original ( except when I have imported my own content from other locations ) and when I update or rewrite it google doesn’t seem to mind.I am not sure how google defines a bad merchant but as my business ethics are as high as possible I am not worried about that. My only concern is that people can find my unique universal visual dyslexia glasses , See Right Dyslexia Glasses, in the organic search results and Google seems to have been doing a fine job of helping for many years now.

  • http://www.emeraldene.com.au Rob Lennon

    Google is supposedly trying to clean up the search results .. but for small businesses this is resulting in huge costs trying to keep up! Keeps the SEO experts in work, but principally forces small business to PPC … where we now also have to defend ourselves against hijackers who are paying for our Brand keywords to steal our direct qualified traffic .. so now we have to Trademark all our Brand keywords so Google will stop the squatters .. what next?

  • http://www.celebritizeyou.com Lena Hunt

    Always a never ending rat race.

  • http://www.electric-reviews.org Mark Demers

    I cannot take the time to worry about rankings in search at the moment but I just checked my last weeks stats and it seems that nothing has changed. I get dips in traffic once and a while and it`s still too early to really tell but so far everything seems the same.


  • http://aokemergencyroom.com/ Meredith Clark

    I am working with organic seo, for my site, but i am not getting results as i supposed to get. I am worry about these updates as you never know how that affects your ranking, either increase or decrease in the search engines, specifically Google. so i always worried about the updates as it affects the whole working strategies for the website.

  • Greg

    Look, it’s all a bit of a storm in a teacup really. We’ve heard all this before. My concern is where Google Gibbon is in all of this? Like the above poster, my website traffic and stats are about the same, and have actually increased under Panda (slightly!. The Gibbon is the one to watch where paid traffic is concerned. The smart money has always been on free traffic cultivation.

  • http://www.your-choice.co.za Jose

    I have seen classified websites dominating some key words. You and I know that classified websites a crap. But they are doing very well.

  • http://www.61designstreet.com/ 61 Design Street

    Its really impacting update, as google have not cleared completely Is it taking quality content in to its account for all the websites performane in search results ?

  • http://www.the-black-angel.com Dan

    Our website went down from Top 3 ranking for all our major keywords, down to rank 5-10, or even second page ranking, just over the weekend. We have all original content, are careful to not keyword stuff or anything, never use black hat or even grey SEO, and still, bam, down.

    What irritates me most is that many of the website ahead of us now are poorly conceived legacy websites, you know, the end-90’s type with animated gifs and all, who use copy-paste content in parts, and some haven’t updated their website in years.

    I can live with some of our real competitors getting ahead of us, but some crappy garage-websites coming out of nowhere and taking top-spots, that one’s hard to chew on.

  • http://www.serpwizard.com/ SEO Services Provider Inida

    I don’t have seen any effects yet. By the way thanks for this information.

  • http://www.arkadin.com/in Conferencing service

    There is no effect at my site yet.

  • http://www.beatlottery.co.uk Peter

    We’ve bin hit very hard with all these Panda/Penguin updates last year but after this update I can see our page impressions doubled! I’ll give it few weeks and monitor and will post back the update. But so far very happy :)

  • http://www.seo-freelance.co.uk Drew

    I’m wondering if there’s an “offline” alogorithm eg there might be now an even stronger preference for brands with a big bricks and mortar retail presence over online specialists

    • Steve

      It’s been known that google prefers big brands. As for the “offline” factor, it’s very possible they also like businesses with a physical address, as it adds a level of legitimacy.

  • Steve

    One of my sites was hit pretty hard last year. Lost about 90% of traffic on that site. All unique content… go figure.

    Google is over-optimizing their algo. Soon, they’ll be nothing more than a big directory, displaying results from only a few select big name brands.

    People use Google because it’s what they’re used to. At some point, people are going to jump ship if they continue to see results they don’t like. They better change course before it’s too late for them.

  • http://www.rahulgladwin.com Rahul

    I will never look at pandas the same way…

  • http://www.msinteractive.com Moonstone Interactive

    A couple of our sites lost significant rankings in the past year or so and we are still trying to get them back to where they used to be. It seems Google is really striking hard against certain backlink strategies. Our revamped strategies are helping our sites get back to the rankings we had, but of course; this will take time. :(

  • http://www.amortech.ca Amortech

    Panda definitely hit some of our SEO clients and these were generally clients that had employed black hat methods previous to signing up with us. Hurts for sure as they signed up and then boom they dropped but we are working hard to restore their authority. I think the algorithm has become quite clear and if followed has leveled the playing field.

  • http://www.onlinetv.com Randy Penn

    Not so funny, but these updates have creamed many sites we work on. In particular sites that have exact names in the .com space. 90 to 100 percent drop in google SERP! None of them used black hat and were just on topic or personal sites. The only difference we could find is that the sites did not have adsense webfarm adverts and those that kept their position or advanced had them.

    Google is working hard to eradicate any competition through attrition on web site owners. The reason you see older sites pop higher is adsense on the site. So old copy and paste garbage now tops the list while sites whose content is exact match to the domain, like onlinetv or ricksiegel are gone from returns.

    Out clients get more from natural type in traffic looking for them but the several thousand returns a month from google have disappeared while sites with nothing to do with the name other than keyword stuffing appear.

    The updates really seem to be about getting rid of sites without google adverts.


  • http://stanleyteamatlanta.com Scott

    So it is approaching a month. Anyone have more insight as to how to recover from this update? Our impressions dropped by more than 2/3 when the update hit. Just basic Real Estate site, with blog. No black hat. The number of leads have therefore been dramatically affected. Could it really be AdSense? interestingly We were using AdWords until a week or so before the update, but that isn’t sustainable long-term