Google's Matt Cutts engaged in a live chat with webmasters on YouTube, and had some things to say about the Panda update.
Barry Schwartz posted the above video, capturing a Panda-related segment of the chat, in which Cutts discusses the update.
"It came from the search quality team," he says. "It didn't come from the web spam team, so web spam engineers have been collaborating with search quality folks on it since the initial launch, but it originated from the search quality team, and it's just an algorithmic change that TENDS to rank lower quality sites lower, which allows higher quality sites to rank higher, so it's not a penalty, and I talked about how algorithms are re-computed, so there's been no manual exceptions."
"I don't expect us to have any manual exceptions to Panda," he says. "This is something where the signal is computed, and then when the signal is re-computed, if the sites are slightly different, then that can change the sites that are affected, and we're going to keep iterating."
"So we've had Panda version 1 in February and Panda version 2 in April I believe, and…possibly March…and that started to use blocking of sites along with some other signals," he continues. "And then we've had smaller amounts of iterations…"
Referring to before the update came about, he says, "We had heard a lot of complaints. We've been working on it even before we'd heard a lot of the complaints to try and make sure that lower quality sites were not ranking as highly in Google search results."
He then mentions the list of questions Google released a few weeks ago for content providers to ask themselves about their own content quality. The list, he says, "Helps to step into the Google mindset and how we think about these sorts of things."
In the talk, Cutts mentioned that the update will still roll out internationally in other languages in time, "maybe in the next couple months". So far, it's been launched globally, but only in the English language.