Google’s Panda Becomes A Penguin

On April 19th last, Google released 3.5, an update to its Panda algorithm. On April 24th, the Penguin flew into town with a charmingly limited repertoire: a broad grin; a nod of the head, and a catchphrase, “Oh, yes“, delivered with the kindly manner of an elderly relative manoeuvering his calloused feet into a bubbling foot spa.

So let’s take a quick review of the Google updates roadmap before, like, going all Danny DeVito.

Previous Panda Updates

  • Panda Update 1.0: Feb. 24, 2011
  • Panda Update 2.0: April 11, 2011
  • Panda Update 2.1: May 10, 2011
  • Panda Update 2.2: June 16, 2011
  • Panda Update 2.3: July 23, 2011
  • Panda Update 2.4: August 12, 2011
  • Panda Update 2.5: September 27, 2011
  • Panda Update 3.0: October 19, 2011
  • Panda Update 3.1: November 18, 2011
  • Panda Update 3.2: January 18, 2012
  • Panda Update 3.3: February 27, 2012
  • Panda Update 3.4: March 23, 2012
  • Panda Update 3.5: April 19, 2012

Panda 3.3 Update

Google confirmed a new Panda update, refreshing data in the Panda system, making it more accurate and more sensitive to receive changes in the web. How that differs to Panda 3.2 – a basic data refresh unrelated to any new or changed ranking signals, nothing major – I don’t know. The key thing here, though, is that Google confirmed the update at the same time that it announced 40 search updates, including:

1. Evaluating Links – Google says it’s getting rid of a link evaluation signal that it’s been using for years.

Link evaluation. We often use characteristics of links to help us figure out the topic of a linked page. We have changed the way in which we evaluate links; in particular, we are turning off a method of link analysis that we used for several years. We often rearchitect or turn off parts of our scoring in order to keep our system maintainable, clean and understandable.

2. Local Search Rankings

This improves the triggering of Local Universal results by relying more on the ranking of our mains search results as a signal

Google’s post also says local results are being improved because of a “new system to find results from a user’s city more reliably. Now we’re better able to detect when both queries and documents are local to the user.”

Other modifications include more accurate detection of official pages, expansion of image index in Universal Search, ‘Site:’ query update, and international launch of shopping rich snippets.

Panda 3.4 Update

Another refresh, 1.6% of the search queries were effected, which is small but large for those hit; it seems like no new signals or algorithm changes were made to this Panda update. In short, they simply reran the algorithm on their index.

Panda 3.5 Update

An update to the Panda algorithm targeting low-quality content. Google stated that they introduced the new Panda update to reward websites that they consider provide higher quality to user. Now, that was April 19, folks, and just a few days later, April 24, the Penguin arrives.

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John Hargaden is CEO of wevolution digital, your full-service digital marketing partner focussed on growing your business online. Case Studies.