Google Panda 25 and No More Confirmed Panda Updates?


The end is nigh, at least for the confirmation of named panda updates as Google this week finally ends the ritual of publicly commenting on the content-based algorithm updates.

Responding to enquiries at SMX West last week, Matt Cutts admitted that the final incarnation of Panda was to be released on Friday the 15th or Monday the 18th of March. More interesting, however, is the notion that Google will no longer be confirming or denying the release of subsequent updates due to the fact that they will be incorporated into a more “real time” schedule, much like the continuous updates which make up the majority of Google’s algorithms.

What does this mean for webmasters?

Firstly, the days of large updates or data refreshes with Panda are gone, the continual assessment process means that sites will be evaluated as they are crawled and processed meaning that content-based penalties could happen at any time, but typically would be less severe. On the surface this sounds like a brief respite for many as they will no longer have to wait for the metaphorical to fall, however, the reality of this means that diagnosing drops in visibility is made that much harder as there is one less potential update to link this to.

This doesn’t change a great deal in the grand scheme of SEO and the methods to ensure your website is Panda-proof remains seemingly unchanged; ensure that you create unique and high quality content for your website in addition to conducting regular audits of your website to check that there aren’t any issues which are creating duplicate or thin content. Since its first release in February 2011 Google haven’t always been 100% clear at what they want to see content-wise, but the continual process and refinement over the last two years has at least made it explicit that Google’s demand for quality and unique content isn’t going away any time soon.

Gone, But Not Forgotten

Barry Schwartz of Search Engine Land and Search Engine Journal doesn’t plan to relent in his documentation of Panda updates, announcing the release of Panda 25 despite the fact it has been unconfirmed and is unlikely to be confirmed any time soon. There has been increased reports of flux among webmasters, which when considered in conjunction with the suggestion by Matt Cutts that a new update is due makes it very likely that Panda 25 has hit already. Barry has indicated that he plans to “make [his] own call” as far as future updates are concerned, but it seems the days of clearly definable updates are drawing to an end.

Even without the continued confirmation of updates in the future there is still plenty you can do to monitor the flux in search engines using SERPmetrics and MozCast as the give a good level of overall change. Failing that check your own positions regularly, keep an eye on the organic traffic entering your site using Google Analytics and keep an ear to the ground on forums like Webmaster World.

Have you experienced fluctuations over the weekend or concerned that your site doesn’t have unique content or is suffering in Google’s eyes? Leave a comment below or get in touch today for a free SEO health-check of your site.


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