Update: A Google spokesperson tells WebProNews, “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.”
A couple weeks ago, Google’s Matt Cutts talked about a new iteration of Google’s Panda update, which he said was already approved and would be hitting soon. The update has been commonly referred to throughout the search industry as “Panda 2.2”.
This version is expected to more heavily address the issue of scraped content, an issue that continues to plague the web and Google’s search results (the scraped content often ranks higher than the original) even post-Panda. Cutts is quoted as saying in a liveblog of an SMX Advanced session, “A guy on my team [is] working on that issue. A change has been approved that should help with that issue. We’re continuing to iterate on Panda. The algorithm change originated in search quality, not the web spam team.”
Google has not made any announcements or references indicating that the update has gone live yet, but webmasters are thinking it might have been released. Barry Schwartz at Search Engine Roundtable points to a WebmasterWorld thread, where there is a mix of webmasters claiming they have suffered from the alleged update and some that have recovered. One said, “I’ve recovered as of 36 hours ago. Day1 of recovery, traffic doubled, adsense tripled Day2 of recovered, 4 hours in, traffic has doubled again, back to my best levels of 18 months ago.”
Cutts said he didn’t know when Panda would be launched internationally (in other languages), and that Google has made no manual exceptions with the update, meaning all sites have been affected solely by algorithmic tweaks – none by hand. ”
It’s important to note that Google makes algorithmic adjustments every day, and sometimes even more than once a day. Obviously not all updates get the attention the Panda update has received, but you never know when some adjustment can impact your site’s rankings for better or for worse.
Cutts recently said, “If we think you’re relatively high quality, Panda will have a smaller impact. If you’re expert enough and no one else has the good content, even if you’ve been hit by Panda that page can still rank.”
You can still rank. Obviously you want to strive for quality, but this just shows that even if you lose a great deal of Google love at any point in time, you still have hope of getting back into its good graces if the quality is there. As Dani Horowtiz of DaniWeb discussed in a recent interview with WebProNews, there are a lot of adjustments you can make to your website (not all of which are directly content related) that can help you regain search referrals. Google has over 200 signals, and even if you have a lot of trouble gaining ground on one of them, there are a lot more areas where you may be able to improve.