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.
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