Google has announced that the latest version of its Panda Update — a filter designed to penalize “thin” or poor content from ranking well — has been released.
Google said in a post on Google+ that a “slow rollout” began earlier this week and will continue into next week, before being complete. Google said that depending on location, about 3%-to-5% of search queries will be affected.
Anything different about this latest release? Google says it’s supposed to be more precise and will allow more high-quality small and medium-sized sites to rank better. From the post:
Based on user (and webmaster!) feedback, we’ve been able to discover a few more signals to help Panda identify low-quality content more precisely. This results in a greater diversity of high-quality small- and medium-sized sites ranking higher, which is nice.
The rollout means anyone who was penalized by Panda in the last update has a chance to emerge, if they made the right changes. So if you were hit by Panda, made alterations to your site, you’ll know by the end of next week if those were good enough, if you see an increase in traffic.
The rollout also means that new sites not previously hit by Panda might get impacted. If you’ve seen a sudden traffic drop from Google this week, or note one in the coming days, then this latest Panda Update is likely to blame.
Why are we calling it Panda 4.1? Well, Google itself called the last one Panda 4.0 and deemed it a major update. This isn’t as big of a change, so we’re going with Panda 4.1.
We actually prefer to number these updates in the order that they’ve happened, because trying to determine if something is a “major” or “minor” Panda Update is imprecise and lead to numbering absurdities like having a Panda 3.92 Update.
But since Google called the last one Panda 4.0, we went with that name — and we’ll continue on with the old-fashioned numbering system unless it gets absurd again.
For the record, here’s the list of confirmed Panda Updates, with some of the major changes called out with their AKA (also known as) names:
The latest update comes four months after the last, which suggests that this might be a new quarterly cycle that we’re on. Panda had been updated on a roughly monthly basis during 2012. In 2013, most of the year saw no update at all.
Of course, there could have been unannounced releases of Panda that have happened. The list above is only for those that have been confirmed by Google.
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