Panda 4.2 is here. Google started to roll out the latest algorithm update over the weekend, with Webmaster Trends Analyst Gary Illyes confirming the Panda refresh over Twitter. There may be a lot of loose ends to this recent update, but there are certain details we can already start mulling over.
Here is what we know about Panda 4.2 so far:
Date of the Rollout
July 18 marked the day of the start of Panda 4.2 refresh. ‘Start’ is an important detail here, as Google explained that the algorithm would continue rolling out for months.
Google remains tight-lipped about the reason behind the slow rollout, but one thing is clear: you need to monitor changes in your rankings and traffic. Its impact may not be evident immediately, so you have to be meticulous in keeping track of your site’s performance. Keep in mind also that the update is a site-wide algorithm.
Affected Search Queries
Google confirmed that the update would affect only 2-3% of search queries. It’s worth noting that this figure is a bit lower than the earlier updates and refresh. In September 2014, 3-5% of queries were affected; 7.5% in May 2014.
With this small fraction of queries affected, it’s likely that sites vulnerable to either Panda penalties or rewards may not experience the impact of the update, at least for a few months from now.
Wins and Losses
The number of affected sites is still a bit unclear. The refresh is happening so slowly that it is difficult to see changes right away. It will take time to see the extent of the update. As mentioned, monitor your site’s performance. Keep an eye on organic rankings also as these will likely experience shifts over time.
There are still a lot of unanswered questions about Panda 4.2 and the biggest concern of businesses and marketers is how to avoid penalties and maintain prime positions on the search engine results pages.
Since Panda’s primary purpose is to drive quality search results and valuable content, the safest and most effective way to avoid penalties is to publish relevant content regularly. Talk to us about your SEO and content optimisation needs; we will be more than happy to help.