The latest, and probably last Panda update you will hear about, probably took place around the weekend of the 15th-18th March 2013. No one is totally sure because Google haven’t confirmed the date as far as I know.
So why are you unlikely to hear about Panda updates in the future? No, it’s not because Google are scrapping Panda. Far from it.
Google are making changes to the way Panda is updated. Previously, Panda was a manual update that occurred every month or two. Google’s plan (if they haven’t already done it) is to integrate Panda into the main real-time Google algorithm. So what does that mean and how does that affect you?
Basically this means that Panda updates won’t be a big event, taking place on a specific day. Instead, Panda will be used in real-time, updating gradually as Google rebuild the index.
In the past, knowing the dates of a Panda update was important. If a site lost rankings on a known Panda update, then we could be fairly sure that Panda was responsible. Since we know that Panda’s main interest is in rewarding high quality sites and squashing thin sites, knowing that our site was hit by Panda helped us find the problems and fix them. Since the new Panda will be updated in real time, it will probably be impossible to say for certainty that a particular ranking drop was the result of Panda.
That’s the bad news. The good new is that if you are hit by Panda, you don’t need to wait for a new Panda update to get your rankings back. Fixing the site should bring your rankings back as soon as Google have indexed your changes and the real-time Panda has redone its sums.
It appears that Google are working on a “new generation of Penguin” which may be rolled out later this year.
Google are also continuing their war against link networks.
Barry Schwartz published an interesting article on Search Engine Land which refers to a study showing that Google Penguin is becoming “stricter over time”. In other words, they are getting less tolerant of spammy links, so you need to be even more careful with your link profiles. The figures quoted in the article suggested that a Penguin penalty was originally triggered when 80% of links in a profile were “suspicious”, but that figure may now be down as low as 50%.
This video from the Search Engine Roundtable has a lot of great information on what Google are up to at the moment.
If you have any comments on Panda, Penguin or other Google news, please leave a comment below.