Search Engine Land's Guide to the Google Panda search filter

What Is The Google Panda Update?

Google’s Panda Update is a filter introduced in February 2011 meant to stop sites with poor quality content from working their way into Google’s top search results. Panda is updated from time-to-time. When this happens, sites previously hit may escape, if they’ve made the right changes. Panda may also catch sites that escaped before. A refresh also means “false positives” might get released.

Our Guide To Google Panda:

Read Search Engine Land’s latest news related to Panda updates:

Google Panda Refresh On August 19th: Version 3.9.1

google-panda-update-featured Google has confirmed they have pushed out a Panda refresh this past Monday. This updated affected less than 1% of search queries and is a "minor" Panda refresh. We emailed Google, after hearing speculation of a Panda update and Google confirmed it by tweeting it. Here is that tweet: Panda data refresh this past Monday. ~1% of queries noticeably affected. More context:— A Googler (@google) August 22, 2012 Google has said the Panda updates will be smoother and more consistent going forward, unlike the Penguin update, which will be more jolting. The previous [...]

Google: Further Penguin Update “Jolts” To Come; Panda Is Smoother & Monthly

google-lightning-featured Fasten your seat belt, if you've been spamming Google. The anti-spam "Penguin Update" will have more jolts in the coming months, as Google continues to adjust it. In contrast, updates to the Panda algorithm aimed at low-quality pages are now so minor as not to be noticed, when they roll out monthly. Speaking yesterday at the SES San Francisco conference, the head of Google's spam fighting team Matt Cutts talked about how Google is still adjusting the Penguin Update algorithm that's designed to penalize sites that spam Google. Technically, Google's saying that Penguin isn't a penalty but [...]

Google Pushing Out Panda Update 3.9 Tonight

panda-face-top-news Google says it will roll out the latest update to its Panda algorithm later tonight. The company posted the news a few minutes ago on Twitter, saying this update will affect about one percent of search results. New data refresh of Panda starts rolling out tonight. ~1% of search results change enough to notice. More context: — A Googler (@google) July 24, 2012 By our count, this is Panda Update 3.9. The previous update, 3.8, occurred just about a month ago -- on June 25th. Panda rolled out initially in February 2011 and was designed to remove low-quality/thin content f [...]

Google Panda Hits Japanese & Korean Languages

panda-google-korea-japan Google announced they have now migrated the Panda algorithm to Japanese and Korean languages. Google also added that this is likely to affect about 5% of queries for those languages. No other Asian or other languages were affected by this update. This comes over 16 months after Google released the original Panda update for English language search results, which impacted 11.8% of those search queries. Here is the tweet from Google: We're launching Panda for Japanese & Korean. <5% of queries affected (no other languages affected today). Context: — A Googler (@g [...]

Official Google Panda Update Version 3.8 On June 25th

panda-face-top-news Google has announced they pushed out a new refresh to the Panda algorithm recently. This update "noticeably affects only ~1% of queries worldwide," said Google on Twitter. There were earlier rumors of an update over the weekend but Google said the rollout started today and not over the weekend. The previous Panda update was on June 8th and before that on April 26th. Typically, Google pushes out algorithm updates for Panda and Penguin every month or so. While the last Panda update was just over 2 weeks ago, Google felt they wanted to push out a new refresh. Here is the tweet: H [...]

Official Google Panda Update Version 3.7 On June 8th

google-panda-update-featured Google has confirmed the rumors of a Panda refresh happening over the weekend. Google said this refresh started rolling out on Friday, June 8th and has an impact of less than 1% of search queries in the U.S. and about 1% worldwide. As I said, the search forums took notice to major changes in the search results, specifically impacting sites that were originally hit by the Panda update. I reached out to Google this morning for a confirmation and they have confirmed the update. Previously, Google pushed out Panda 3.6 on April 27th, about 6 weeks before this update. Google tends to do Pan [...]

Confirmed: Panda Update 3.6 Happened On April 27th

google-panda-generic-featured Google has confirmed they have pushed out a refresh on the Panda algorithm on Friday, April 27th. I noticed an uptick in Webmaster discussion around Google changes over the weekend, mostly at WebmasterWorld and asked Google to confirm if there was an update. Google confirmed they refreshed the Panda update on the 27th, but it was a limited update not affecting that many sites. This was an unusual update being that Panda 3.5 was released on April 19th, making a 8 day gap between 3.5 and this update, 3.6. Typically Google pushes out a refresh of Panda every 6 weeks or so. A Google Spoke [...]

Panda Update 3.5 Is Live: Winners & Losers

panda-face-top-news Last week, Google released a new update to its Panda algorithm that targets low-quality content. Who won and who lost? Searchmetrics has posted an analysis of that. Our original story here reported the winners/losers list, as Searchmetrics did, showing who was estimated to have gained and lost in the new Penguin Update that was released this week by Google. Penguin targets not low-quality content but outright spam. No one knew that there had been a Panda Update that also happened, one that in fact was likely responsible for most of the changes on the lists. This was confirmed by the h [...]

Google Says Panda 3.4 Is ‘Rolling Out Now’

panda-face-top-news Google has announced the latest in its ongoing updates to the Panda algorithm that targets low-quality websites. And they've taken the somewhat novel approach of using Twitter to make this announcement: Panda refresh rolling out now. Only ~1.6% of queries noticeably affected. Background on Panda:— A Googler (@google) March 23, 2012 As the tweet above says, Google estimates that about 1.6 percent of queries are affected by this "Panda refresh." I'm calling this Panda update 3.4 primarily because we don't know how substantial the update really is beyond the 140 [...]

Google Confirms Panda 3.3 Update, Plus Changes To How It Evaluates Links, Local Search Rankings & Much More

google-g-logo Google has confirmed a new Panda update at the same time that it's announcing 40 search updates that happened in February (or are in progress right now). It would be all but impossible to fully sum up the full slate of changes here, but there are a few that seem especially noteworthy and will no doubt produce a lot of speculation among search marketers. Here's a look at the ones that stand out to me: Panda 3.3 Update Here's what Google says about its latest Panda-related change: Panda update. This launch refreshes data in the Panda system, making it more accurate and more sensitiv [...]

Infographic: The Google Panda Update, One Year Later

panda-year-infographic-featured One year ago, Google launched its "Panda Update" designed to filter low quality or "thin" content from its top search results. Below, our infographic produced in conjunction with BlueGlass covers how Panda works, what it impacted and the various updates from Panda 1.0 through Panda 3.2 that have happened along the way. After the infographic, you'll also find more information about the Panda Update ranging from in-depth analysis of how it works, "winners and losers" and well as recovery tips. (Note: An earlier version of this infographic listed scraper sites as something targeted by Pa [...]

Google Panda Update Costs Demand Media $6.4 Million In 4th Quarter?

ehow-pow-panda-featured Demand Media posts $6.4-million loss in fourth quarter from the Los Angeles Times reports that Google's Panda algorithm is mostly to blame for Demand Media's $6.4 million loss in the fourth quarter of 2011. Demand Media released their earnings report last night, showing revenues up 15% year over year, but profits down from a positive $1 million in the 4th quarter of 2010 to a loss of $6.4 million in the 4th quarter of 2011. Overall, Demand Media lost $18.5 million over the 2011 fiscal year. Our very own Greg Sterling told the LA Times, "When you generate articles based on keywords, you [...]

Google Panda 3.2 Update Confirmed

sad-panda-featured Google has confirmed reports of a Panda update with us. The company told us they have done a data refresh of the Google Panda algorithm about a week ago, and added that there were no additional signals or algorithm changes. This was only a data refresh. I saw reports over the past week or so of webmasters commenting about their rankings. Most were complaining that they lost rankings, but some said sites that were originally hit by Panda regained their traffic levels pre-Panda. This would explain the data refresh, where Google ran the algorithm and updated the sites that should or should not [...]

Google & Bing Have “Won A Major Victory” Over Content Farms, Study Says

panda-winning-featured Search engines have "won a major victory" in their battle against so-called content farms. So says the current issue of New Scientist magazine, in an article that's also available online. New Scientist asked University of Glasgow computer scientist Richard McCreadie to study 50 search queries that are "known to be a target of content farmers." One example query given is "how to train for a marathon." McCreadie studied those queries in both March and August, and the magazine says "the results show that Google and Microsoft have won a major victory" against content farms. The results are s [...]

Google’s Holiday Gift To Webmasters: No Panda Updates Till Next Year

google-panda-holiday-break-14455 Yesterday, I made an assumption that Google would put all Panda updates on hold until after the holiday season. Google tweeted yesterday afternoon that there would be "no major Panda updates until the new year." The last Panda update we had was labeled a "minor" update on November 18th and since then, it has been pretty quite on the Panda update side of things. Google typically does not do major algorithm updates during the holiday season in order to not impact online retailers that much during their most critical business sales time of the year. This all stems from the historic Flori [...]

Google’s New Multilingual Markup Signals New Issues Of Concern For Global SEOs

Last Monday, Google announced that they had released "new markup for multilingual content", see the webmaster tools blog post here. Even for those of us that work in the field of looking after global websites, this produced relatively unexciting headlines along the lines of "Google Launches New Multilingual Markup -- Wow". Big yawn. In fact, digging deeper into the announcement produces new worries and potential new solutions for international SEOs. For instance, whilst it may not have been Google's intention, they're presenting this as a "stronger signal than canonicals", and give scen [...]

Yahoo Deletes 75,000 Associated Content Articles, Moves Rest To New Yahoo Voices Site

yahoo logo Yahoo is cleaning up Associated Content by deleting some of the articles, moving the keepers to Yahoo's domain and giving the site a new name, too. And next year, Yahoo will begin an online training course to help its writers create higher quality content. The company has announced plans to "retire" more than 75,000 Associated Content articles, keep only "the best content submitted over the last seven years," and move it all to a new site, Yahoo! Voices ( In the process, Yahoo has also introduced new submission guidelines for its army of writers. Associated Content [...]

Bing Bans Holiday Deals Sites, Including One By Group That Created Cyber Monday

bing-deals-ban-featured Ironically, the trade group that created the Cyber Monday concept had its own site lost in cyberspace this week. Lost, that is, if you tried to use Bing to find it. The site, along with some Black Friday deals sites, have been deliberately dropped from Bing as being too "thin" in content. Bing's Version Of The Google Panda Update If "thin is bad" sounds familiar, that's because Google kicked off this trend earlier this year. The Google Panda Update was a change in how Google ranked web pages, designed to penalize pages deemed to be content-light. Google's change didn't rem [...]

Google Panda Update 3.1: “Minor” One Made Live On November 18th

Google Panda - Effect on Local SEO & Local Business Market Google tweeted that they have pushed out a minor update to the Google Panda algorithm this past Friday afternoon. The update impacts less than one-percent of searches, which is why Google labelled this a "minor" update. There have been a number of updates since the 2.5 update on September 28th. We have been calling those updates Panda fluxes. Google is making a conscious effort to provide more weather reports for when they do major of minor updates with the search algorithm. Previous Panda Updates Here’s the Panda update schedule so far, as we’ve tracked and had confirmed by Goo [...]

Panda Update 3.0 Live & Panda “Flux”

panda-face-top-news On around September 27th, Google launched what's being called 2.5 of its Panda algorithm. On October 5th, Google's Matt Cutts tweeted: "Weather report: expect some Panda-related flux in the next few weeks, but will have less impact than previous updates (~2%)." Panda-related flux? Indeed, this seems to be the case, with site owners reporting Panda-related changes on at least October 3rd and October 13th. In several  cases, I saw sites with Google organic traffic declines on 9/27, recovery on 10/3, and decline again on 10/13. I talked to Google to find out more about the flux and what sit [...]

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