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It's Panda Update 2.1, Not Panda 3.0, Google Says

There have been rumblings that Google has unveiled another huge algorithm change being dubbed “Panda 3.0” in some quarters. Officially, Google says it’s not so. Only a minor update, “far smaller” than Panda 2, has happened.

Changes have been spotted by some sharp-eyed SEOs over the past few days, and Google agrees that there were some tweaks made. But as I said, the company says this impacts far fewer rankings than in the past.

Let’s recap:

Panda 1.0: Launched on February 24, this targeted “shallow” or “thin” content and impacted about 12% of the rankings in the United States. See our coverage from then, Google Forecloses On Content Farms With “Farmer” Algorithm Update.

Panda 2.0: Launched on April 11, this incorporated Google “blocking” data and impacted about 2% of searches in the US. It also saw the algorithm roll out globally. See our past coverage: Google Rolls Out Its Panda Update Internationally And Begins Incorporating Searcher Blocking Data.

Panda 2.1: Google won’t release the percentage of queries impacted but says this is far less than in the other updates. Changes were made in the past few days.

It’s important to remember that Google is always making changes to its search algorithm. Panda was a big algorithm change, but it’s not likely that Google will make similar huge change for months.

If it does, it’s likely you can expect news will come from us, along with perhaps a new name and confirmation from Google. Until then, little changes that happen should be seen as what they probably are, small tweaks that regularly happen.

Still, I’ve no doubt we’ll be hearing people continue to talk Panda for months. Indeed, just as Chinese years are named for different animals (we’re in the year of the rabbit right now), 2011 looks to be Google’s Year Of The Panda.

For more about the Panda update, see some of our many past posts:

Also see our post earlier this week Impacted By Google’s Panda Update? Google Asks You To Consider This…, which covers over 20 questions that Google asks publishers to consider about their sites, and ways to improve, if they were swiped by the Panda paw.


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