Last night was pretty wild, with Google confirming an update over the weekend targeting spammy queries and also Google’s Matt Cutts posting on Twitter that Panda 4.0 was released.
This is a new Panda algorithm, not a refresh that we’ve seen almost monthly but enough for Google to name this 4.0, which means a new algorithm update to it.
Google’s Matt Cutts told us at Search Engine Land that this Panda 4.0 update impacts ~7.5% of English queries to a degree that a regular user might notice.
Also when I spoke to Matt Cutts, he made it sound like this update may appear gentler for some sites but it does lay the groundwork to future changes in the direction of a softer and gentler Panda algorithm.
Google is rolling out our Panda 4.0 update starting today.
— Matt Cutts (@mattcutts) May 20, 2014
This began rolling out yesterday and is unrelated to the Google Spam Algorithm 2.0 released over the weekend and unrelated to anything Penguin.
So no, I was not crazy expecting something big that happened over the weekend and throughout the month and this week. Even though Google said nothing is going on, we’ve been seeing signs of major changes and ranking shifts all throughout the month. I suspect those were tests for both this Google Spam Algorithm version 2.0 and the Panda 4.0 release.
Here is some of the history on the Panda update, but to dig deeper, see our Panda category.
Panda #25 on March 15, 2013
Panda #24 on January 22, 2013
Panda #23 on December 21, 2012
Panda #22 on November 21st
Panda #22 on November 21st
Panda #21 on November 5th
Panda #20 on September 27th
Panda 3.9.2 on September 18th
Panda 3.9.1 on August 20th
Panda 3.9 on July 24th
Panda 3.8 on June 25th
Panda 3.7 on June 9th
Panda 3.6 on April 27th
Panda 3.5 on April 19th
Panda 3.4 on March 23rd
Panda 3.3 on about February 26th
Panda 3.2 on about January 15th
Panda 3.1 on November 18th
Panda 2.5.3 on October 19/20th
Panda 2.5.2 on October 13th
Panda 2.5.1 on October 9th
Panda 2.5 on September 28th
Panda 2.4 in August
Panda 2.3 on around July 22nd.
Panda 2.2 on June 18th or so.
Panda 2.1 on May 9th or so.
Panda 2.0 on April 11th or so.
Panda 1.0 on February 24th
Google stopped confirming Panda updates last year and then started doing rolling updates but that doesn’t mean they haven’t done work on fine tuning the algo. They softened it recently and there have been refreshes monthly, some larger than others but it is hard to know if it was Panda or something else.
Over the next few days, we are going to need to look at our analytics and isolate if we were impacted by one of these algorithms. I’ll ask you to fill out a poll in the near future and share those results.
Forum discussion at Twitter, BlackHatWorld, Google+, Google Webmaster Help, DigitalPoint Forums and WebmasterWorld.
Image credit to BigStockPhoto for pandas