Google Has Begun its Slow Rollout of Panda 4.2. Here’s What You and Your Clients Need to Know
Google confirmed last month that it had begun a “slow rollout” of Panda 4.2 on July 18, 2015. If you remember, the Google Panda algorithm was first released in February 2011, and is meant to be a site-wide action that lowers the rankings of thin or low quality sites and improve the rankings of higher-quality sites on Google’s search results.
Panda 4.2’s rollout was never officially announced by Google, and instead, Barry Schwartz—Search Engine Land’s news editor—had to ask Google Webmaster Trends Analyst, Gary Illyes, to confirm on Twitter that Panda was indeed undergoing an update.Google’s Panda updates have been diminishing in frequency, and the last confirmed update was Panda 4.1, which was released on September 25, 2014 (almost ten months before the release of Panda 4.2). Google has also confirmed that Panda 4.2 will affect 2-3% of English language queries.
On the other hand, what does Google mean by a “slow rollout” and how will the latest Panda update affect the rankings of your clients’ web properties on the organic portion of the SERPs?
Panda 4.2 Will Take Months to Fully Rollout—Which Means Changes Won’t Be Immediately Discernible
Google has confirmed that Panda 4.2’s rollout is going to be slow—excruciatingly slow. The rollout is going to take several months to complete rather than a few weeks or days. In other words, if your clients’ sites have been impacted positively or negatively by Panda 4.2, neither you nor your clients will know for sure until the entire rollout is complete several months from now.
As for the reason behind the slow rollout, Google is attributing the delay to “technical reasons”. On July 31, 2015, Webmaster Trends Analyst, John Mueller, was quizzed about Panda 4.2, and he cited an undisclosed “internal issue” related to technical reasons as the reason for the slower-than-usual rollout.
“This is actually pretty much a similar update to [the other updates]. For technical reasons, we’re mostly rolling it out a bit slower. It’s not that we’re trying to…confuse people with this. It’s really just for technical reasons,” stated Mueller.
Google representatives have also stated that they’re working to change Panda’s infrastructure so that tweaks become continuous and rollouts more gradual. Moreover, some of your clients’ web pages may display an impact at different times, with some web pages gaining rankings and others losing them on Google’s organic search results. (While Google Panda is still meant to be a site-wide action, it might not affect all web pages within a site the same way.)
Also, our Partners and digital marketers need to take into account that Panda is just one of the more than 200 signals that Google uses to determine the rankings of websites and web pages on its search results. Other notable signals include the terms on the website, the freshness of the content, and PageRank. In short, a drop or rise in rankings on the SERPs is dependent on numerous factors besides Panda.
Want to Beat Panda & Appease Almighty Google? Google Still Advises Us to Build High-Quality Sites
Google’s advice to webmasters whose sites have been negatively impacted hasn’t changed since Panda was first rolled out in February 2011. Webmasters whose sites have been negatively hit by Panda are advised to build high-quality sites that focus on delivering the best possible user experience without focusing too much on optimizing for Google’s current ranking algorithms or signals.
Of course, Google’s engineers won’t disclose the actual ranking signals used in the algorithms for fear that bad actors may try to manipulate the search results, but they have provided a comprehensive checklist that would help webmasters build high-quality sites that comply with Google’s standards.
When it comes to assessing the quality of a web page or articles found on that web page, Google is essentially looking for trustworthy and authoritative content. Web pages are more likely to rank well if they contain unique and coherent content written by subject matter experts. Also, to ensure a great user experience, content needs to be written with the end-reader in mind, not the search engines.
While it has been confirmed that Panda 4.2 will only affect approximately 2-3% of English language queries (a smaller percentage than Panda 1.0, which affected 11.8% of queries and Panda 4.0, which affected 7.5% of queries), that’s still a significant percentage. Considering the billions of searches that are conducted on Google Search each month, just one in 50 (2%) will lead to millions of search results with altered rankings.
Endlessrise’s SEO Methodologies are in Sync with Panda and other Google Algorithms
Panda refreshes come and go, but we remain committed to delivering what you and your clients have come to expect from us—exceptional service and great results.
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