The Google Panda 4.2 update went unnoticed by many. But those who have got the news, the Panda is now a part of the core algorithm. John Mueller, the webmaster trends analyst from Google says that this was probably the last of the Panda update we will ever receive. His statement read “That’s something that’s just kind of rolling, rolling right along, so it’s not so much like in the past where you’d see on this date, this actually changed, and we, we updated that. So that’s something kind of something as a more rolling algorithm you wouldn’t really see the individual cut dates of specific parts of the data.”
The update continues to identify high quality websites and using the data in real time is what the Panda seeks. Google has always been rolling out manual and automatic updates but it has never quite interfered in the way that data is rolled out. Essentially, nothing has quite changed other than making it much more convenient for Google to turn on and maintain the search optimization and ranking nuances.
Google says that the 4.2 update affected around 2% – 3% of English language queries. This rollout would also mean that any website that had been penalized in its last update (that came out on 25th September, 2014) now have a change to reemerge, given they have made the right changes in this gap. However, even if you had been adversely hit by the Panda 4.2, the impact will not be noticeable immediately but your organic ranking would gradually go down.
The Panda 4.2 can be rightly said to give a new change to some websites and a penalty for others.
Another interesting statement by Gary Illyes from Google suggests that the 4.2 Panda update had begun roiling out from July 18th, 2015 and is still being worked upon. Meanwhile, it has become increasingly difficult to get a clear differentiation between individual updates and the isolated changes to analytical data. Nevertheless, the sole purpose for all the updates has been to focus on more qualitative content rather that just worrying about search engine ranks.
Now, if the entire domain of a website has been affected, it would be rather difficult to set things right. To be able to retail high ranking, it won’t suffice anymore to just optimize your landing pages that have weaker content.
Highlights of the Google Panda 4.2 update:
This new update has been confirmed by Google to affect just 2-3% of the queries. This percentage is certainly lower than the previous update that affected around 3-5% of the results. It is also important to note that this 2-3% includes both the sites that would be adversely affected and the pages that have made a return to the rankings.
For webmasters who want to dig deep, the 4.2 version could be technically believed to be a refresh rather than a complete update. This would also mean reapplying identical signals that we worked upon when the previous Panda change.
Unfortunately for some, once Google rolls out these algorithm update (it has now), it becomes too late to start applying any changes in lieu of favorable results. Experience suggests that these updates come with a cut-off date and any changes made after it would be considered by the next update or refresh!
However, it is also advisable to working on content quality and update at all times. The only thing is that you will wait for the next update to transfer the rewards into the search rankings. The vice versa is true too.
Long rollouts have nothing been new with Google algorithm changes and it shouldn’t be surprising that the refresh isn’t hitting all at once. Hopefully, we will get some conclusive answers from Google in the next few weeks.
Though the update has been slow, Google suggests that several high quality but small and medium websites are achieving higher ranks. However, the “stretching” period for the update will also mean that we wouldn’t be able to categorize the winners and losers.
We will be looking out for a pattern but till then, it’s just a game of surprises.