New Google Panda Refresh: 4.2 is Here
10 months after the last Google Panda rollout (Panda 4.1), Google has confirmed that Panda 4.2 began its launch in July.
Don’t worry if you didn’t notice… Unlike some of its previous updates, where many brands’ site rankings dropped or rose dramatically, this incarnation is being released much more gradually, possibly over a period of months.
What does the new Panda update mean?
Any new Google Panda rollout could do one of two things:
- If a website was penalised in the last Panda update, the site can find itself rising back through the search results if it has resolved the issues that caused the penalty
- Penalise or reward existing websites according to the quality of the content Google finds and assesses.
With several of the previous Panda rollouts, websites knew immediately if they had been penalised. Search-engine traffic could all but disappear overnight, leaving the webmaster with content-quality issues to fix and no assurance of when – or if – they would regain their previous position in the SERPs.
With Panda 4.2, this slow pace of the release makes it harder to tell exactly what has been ‘hit’, but we do know that it will affect 2-3% of US search queries, a total of around 36 million.
What should webmasters do?
The focus of each of the Panda updates has been to improve the quality of website content; Google no longer wanted to refer its users to poor-quality sites filled with unoriginal or nonsensical text, sometimes copied from elsewhere.
Make your content unique and high-quality, avoid having too many ads, especially above the fold, don’t have insufficient, ‘thin’ content that does not provide value, and don’t even think about using content that is ‘spun’.
Matt Cutts’ advice following a previous update is worth revisiting: