Webmasters and SEOs suspected the next wave of Google’s Panda update began hitting last week, with reports coming in of traffic drops, as well as some recoveries starting around June 16. And it seems that is the case, as Google has today confirmed the arrival of what is being dubbed Google Panda Version 2.2.
As is typical of Google, they’re revealing nearly nothing about what this tweak is targeting. As yet, Google hasn’t made an official announcement of the rollout of the algorithmic change on a company blog, though Google has recently tried to downplay Panda, noting that Panda is just one of about 500 algorithmic search tweaks Google makes each year.
Supposedly, one thing Google was going to address with Panda 2.2 is the issue of scraper sites – websites that republish other people’s content on their own site, usually making money from Google AdSense in the process – outranking content originators. As Frank Watson noted, “Google created the mechanism that clogs its own data centers and overwhelms its own spam battlers.”
History of Panda
Google announced the arrival of a new algorithm aimed at reducing rankings for “low-quality sites.” Though Google said only 11.8 percent of U.S. queries were impacted by the update, it was enough to do some big damage (organic traffic losses of up to 80 percent were reported) to many unsuspecting online business owners, webmasters, and SEOs, which we chronicled here, here, here, and here.
A second version of Panda followed in April for all English sites, incorporating user feedback (blocked sites) as a search signal, followed by what is now being called Panda 2.1 in May.
Early on, Google offered little advice to those caught in Google’s algorithmic net, aside from removing low quality content and releasing a list of 23 questions to help you think like Google about which types of sites Google tries to reward with higher rankings.
In the months since the initial launch, some more clues have emerged and our team of experts have been busy unraveling the SEO factors involved with the Panda enigma.
Most recently, Garry Przyklenk yesterday offered five SEO Panda survival tips, including diversifying your traffic, addressing usability issues, and creating high-quality content – which is what Google says the Panda update aims to reward, despite the collateral damage that has been reported since February.
Also see my post, a collection of suggestions coming out of SES New York this year.
As for recovery? We reported on a couple sites that have recently made progress after being hit hard when Panda launched. See their recovery strategies here.
Let us know if you’ve seen any changes to your rankings or traffic in the past week in the comments.