A Guide To The Panda Update

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A Guide To The Panda Update

The second in our Google algorithm series is the Panda update. Whilst the Penguin algorithm penalized sites with spammy backlinks and poor SEO techniques, the Panda update penalizes sites with poor content and rewards sites the produce high quality and relevant content!

The Panda update caused a lot of trouble for sites with poor content; more than 80% of the sites that were first hit with a penalty from the Panda update were still working to recover from the penalty over a year later.

Google Panda has been updated and become progressively more intensive since it was first launched. The timeline below shows the release date of Google Panda and all the updates since ordered by most recent date:

Google Panda 4.2 (around 18th July 2015): The most recent Panda update, in July 2015, has currently affected 2-3% of all english queries. However, Google has announced that due to technical reasons the 4.2 update will roll out very slowly so this figure may increase as more queries are affected by the algorithm.

Google Panda 4.1 (around 25th September 2014): Panda 4.1 was released in September 2014. Panda 4.1 affected between 3-5% of search queries.

Google Panda 4.0 (around 20th May 2014): After over a year since the last Panda update, Matt Cutts announced that Panda 4.0 was being released which caused panic between webmasters! After such a long time period between the last, it was inevitable that this update would be huge. 7.5% of all English queries were affected and given a penalty.

Google Panda Update 25 (around 15th March 2013): Another update was confirmed to be released on March 15th however there were no signs of the update actually happening

Google Panda Update 24 (around 22nd January 2013): A new update was released on January 22nd which affected 1.2% of English queries. Prior to this update there were rumours that the SERPs had been changing however Google denied this and reminded webmasters that Google regularly launch 500 algorithmic changes every year so the SERPs are always changing without us being informed.

Google Panda Update 23 (around 21st December 2012): In late December, Google released another update that affected English queries and 1.3% were hit with penalties!

Google Panda Update 22 (around 21st November 2012): Just a few weeks after the last Penguin update, the twenty second Panda update was released which affected 0.8% of SERPs.

Google Panda Update 21 ( around 5th November 2012): Although Google said that the update on November 5th would not be noticeable, 0.4% of English sites were hit with a penalty and 1.1% of US based sites were hit.

Google Panda Update 20 (around 27th September 2012): The twentieth Google Panda update was considerably major considering the small updates that look place over the previous months. 2.4% of English queries were impacted majorly and had to start improving their sites content and worth to get them back in the rankings.

Google Panda 3.92 (around 18th September 2012): Panda 3.92 was released mid-September with only 0.7% of queries being affected by the update

Google Panda 3.9.1 (around 20th August 2012): Another data refresh took place on August 19th. Google tend to not pre-warn webmasters of their updates in case they manipulate the system and change their site content just long enough for the update to be complete.

Google Panda 3.9 (around 24th July 2012): Google announced on Twitter a new update to the Panda algorithm in July 2012 which effected 1% of all global search results.

Google Panda 3.8 (around 25th June 2012): The Panda 3.8 update was released and effected 1% of all search results worldwide!

Google Panda 3.7 (around 9th June 2012): Panda 3.7 was another minor update that was released in June 2012

Google Panda 3.6 (around 27th April 2012): Google released Panda 3.6 as another minor update for the search rankings

Google Panda 3.5 (around 19th April 2012): Panda 3.5 was rolled out as a minor update a month after the data refresh.

Google Panda 3.4 (around 23rd March 2012): A second data refresh was released in March 2012, hitting 1.6% of the search results analysed hit with a Google penalty.

Google Panda 3.3 (around 27th February 2012): Shortly after Panda 3.2, Panda 3.3 was rolled out as a data refresh so that the SERPs were more accurate according to the most reliable and high quality content.

Google Panda 3.2 (around 18th January 2012): Panda 3.2 was released early in the new year of 2012 which was intended as a data refresh and to resolve any issues that cropped up with the previous updates. The effect of this were good and bad; any sites that shouldn’t have been hit with a penalty were rectified but some low quality sites that had previously slipped through the net were now hit with a penalty!

Google Panda 3.1 (around 18th November 2011): A month later, Panda released Panda 3.1, another minor update with less than 1% of all sites being hit as result.

Google Panda 3.0 (around 19th October 2011): Panda 3.0, more commonly known as “The Unnoticed Update” was released days after the two minor updates in October 2011. Panda 3.0 was released to rectify sites that rankings had been punished unfairly by the first Panda update in February.

Google Panda 2.5.2 (around 13th October 2011): Just days after the last update, Panda 2.5.2 was released on October 13th to make small changes the previous update had missed with around 2% of search results being affected.

Google Panda 2.5.1 (around 9th October 2011): Panda 2.5.1 was the first of two small updates released in October 2011.

Google Panda 2.5 (around 28th September 2011): When Panda 2.5 was rolled out the initial impact seemed minor however some webmasters states that they lost a large percentage of their rankings as websites owned by Google such as YouTube went up to the top of the SERPs.

Google Panda 2.4 (around 12th August 2011): Before Panda 2.4, the update was only implemented across English search results. In August 2011 Panda 2.4 was applied internationally for all languages besides Chinese, Korean and Japanese. This update caused massive issues for webmasters, with a percentage of 6-9% of sites being hit with a penalty and loss of rankings.

Google Panda 2.3 (around 23rd July 2011): Although the impact of Panda 2.3 was minor and no data was released for this update, it is suspected to be a significant update as new signals were incorporated into the algorithm to make distinguishing between good content and bad content easier.

Google Panda 2.2 (around 16th June 2011): In June 2011 the Panda 2.2 update was released in the hope of identifying scraper sites that duplicated content to get traffic to their own sites and claim ownership of this content.

Google Panda 2.1 (around 10th May 2011): A month later Google released the Panda 2.1 update which was very low impact and was simply released for minor tweaks that were missed in the last update. No data was released of what percentage of sites were hit by this update as it was so low.

Google Panda 2.0 (around 11th April 2011): Shortly after the release of the Panda algorithm, an update was released which meant the algorithm could check all English search results. The impact of this was that 2% of all sites Google had analysed were given penalties.

Google Panda 1.0 (around 24th February 2011): was first launched on 24th February 2011 and penalized the first of many websites with low quality content, the types of sites that were hit the most were sites with watered down content, sites with a large percentage of advertising material and sites with a low percentage of original content. It is said that a huge 12% of all sites were hit with a penalty for their content!

Google Panda: Overview & Impact

  • Since Panda was first released, Page 1 of the SERPs should now consist of the most relevant and high quality content which will help the user find what they need quicker
  • It promotes the mentality that content should be written for the user and not just for search engines
  • Crawler sites that duplicate other webmasters content to rank highly are slowly being removed from the SERPs – ensuring a better user experience on the Google search engine.
  • If you are using white hat SEO techniques and naturally have good content then you will be rewarded by being moved higher up in the search results!
  • Although some sites that were unfairly hit with a penalty have been rectified, some sites have yet to recover from the original Panda update
  • For small businesses who do not have a content strategy to write useful and informative quality content for their site, it may be difficult to improve in position or recovery from a penalty.
  • Original, high quality content is key for getting out of a Panda penalty and not being hit by Panda in the future. As the Internet is such a broad place, thinking of original ideas that have not yet been done can be difficult and time consuming.

For more information on how you can recover from a Google Panda update and create some high quality content, contact us here.

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