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Google Panda 4.2 FAQs: We Interviewed Google On The Latest Panda Update


When Google told us they pushed out a Panda refresh in mid-July, Panda 4.2, there were a lot of questions from the industry about what was different in this Panda refresh compared to others.

Search Engine Land was able to ask Google to clarify some of those questions about the Panda 4.2 update and about Panda updates in general. Here are some of those FAQs related to Google Panda.

What’s New With Panda Now?

Google is doing the slowest rollout ever, taking several months rather than just a few days.

Why Is Google Going So Slowly?

Google said there are technical reasons for this, but it is not done with the purpose of confusing SEOs or webmasters.

Google also told us they are shifting their infrastructure towards more continuous changing and gradual rolling out of Panda, incorporated into their core ranking algorithms. Google said they are not there yet, but they’re moving in that direction, and these are the first steps in that direction.

So Some Of My Pages Might Drop, Not Others?

Yes, pages that have been hit by Panda may show an impact at different times during the rollout. This is because of the very slow page-by-page rollout.

But I Thought Panda Was Site-Wide?

Google said that while Panda is a site-wide action, it might not affect all pages within a site the same way. Some pages might suffer more than others.

Search ranking involves 200+ signals; Panda is just one of them. The change in position is dependent on a combination of many factors besides Panda.

For example, a page hit by Panda but with other positive page-level signals might not see as a significant drop as another page on your site that has less positive page-level signals.

How Will I Know If I’ve Escaped Panda?

If you’re hit by the current Panda 4.2 update, you’ll probably have to wait several months until the entire rollout is done. Then you’ll have to wait until Google does the next update, which seems likely to happen some time in 2016, given that this latest update took nearly a year to happen.

As Google told us before, their direction is to integrate Panda into their core ranking algorithms so change is more continuous, but not real-time. So if Google does this, publishers may see more continuous Panda changes at a faster rate. If not, we may have to wait until 2016 to see another Panda refresh.

The best way to see if you escaped is to watch your analytics, isolate your Google organic traffic and note any large swings. Then check the community to hear if Google confirmed any updates.

What Should I Do To Improve My Website?

Google told us the same advice they gave back in 2011 is the advice they’d point publishers to. If you feel you were negatively hit by the Panda update, read that blog post and try to make those general updates to your website.

For more on this topic, see our Google Panda category.

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