Official: Google Panda 2.3 Update Is Live

panda-and-babyGoogle has confirmed to Search Engine Land that late last week it pushed out a small update to the Panda filter.

“We’re continuing to iterate on our Panda algorithm as part of our commitment to returning high-quality sites to Google users,” a Google spokesperson told us. “This most recent update is one of the roughly 500 changes we make to our ranking algorithms each year,” the spokesperson added.

Over the past week or so, I have been tracking the complaints in the various forums, including the large ongoing thread at WebmasterWorld.

At first, I felt the complaints suggested that Google was doing rolling updates of Panda, as opposed Panda updates being manually pushed out. I was wrong, they are still being pushed put manually, Google says.

Google told us “this update incorporates some new signals that help differentiate between higher- and lower-quality sites. As a result, some sites are ranking higher after this most recent update.”

Previous Panda Updates

So far, the Panda update schedule has been like this:

The 2.1 to 2.3 dates are approximate. Google may have rolled them out just a bit earlier or later than those exact days. The bigger issue is that you can see a trend developing. About every month, Google reruns its Panda algorithm.

Each time Panda is run, there’s a chance some hit from the last update will improve, while other sites might see traffic drops. In between updates, changes people may make specifically in hopes of fixing a Panda problem won’t show any impact until the next update is run.

To understand more about this, how the periodic nature of Panda updates work, see Why Google Panda Is More A Ranking Factor Than Algorithm Update.

Panda Update Must-Reads

More Panda News & Recovery Tips

Panda Winners & Losers

More SEO Information

Related Topics: Channel: SEO | Google: Panda Update | Google: SEO | Google: Web Search | Panda Update News | Top News

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About The Author: is Search Engine Land's News Editor and owns RustyBrick, a NY based web consulting firm. He also runs Search Engine Roundtable, a popular search blog on very advanced SEM topics. Barry's personal blog is named Cartoon Barry and he can be followed on Twitter here. For more background information on Barry, see his full bio over here.

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  • http://www.comehike.com Alex Genadinik

    Wow, I was really waiting for this and how disappointing.

    My site had been hit, and I have been cleaning it up as much as I could, placing no-index tags, and un-linking bad content. True, I was a little greedy in the past, and deserved to be penalized. But I also deserve to be de-penalized now as I actually have a good site, and a useful business.

    My site is ComeHike.com – if anyone can help me out or make a suggestion what to do, it would be great. This is really killing my business if I don’t get de-penalized.

    I invested 1000s of hours into SEO, and my kind of site depends on Google traffic. Also, if you look at the outdoor niche, many of the real content spam sites, are still prospering.

    Please help!

  • imfreak

    @Alex Genadinik

    I’ve experiences that the more you run after Google, the more it gets away from you. Focus on Yahoo and Bing and it’ll automatically come to you!

  • http://www.rimmkaufman.com George Michie

    Alex, I recommend focusing instead on how to make your site valuable to hikers. Can someone search for hiking clubs by geography? By types of hikes (mountains/waterfalls/urban), degree of difficulty? Are their maps to popular hiking trails of the US? Why would a hiker want to find your site? If the answer to that question isn’t obvious, then focusing on SEO is going to be a waste of time. Sustainable SEO success starts with having a quality site for humans.

  • http://www.comehike.com Alex Genadinik

    @George @Imfreak

    Guys, you are answering questions I didn’t ask. I only asked how I can get out of a site-wide penalty by Google.

    I appreciate following responses which are on point.

  • Matt Saunders

    @alex

    George’s answer was right on the money – offer more value. Continuously think about the user. Without being disrespectful, but your reply makes it look like YOU missed the point.

  • http://www.comehike.com Alex Genadinik

    @Matt

    George’s answer was not on the money at all. I run this business. Don’t you think I have in-depth knowledge of exactly the problems faced by my site visitors?

    Trust me, what he said is nothing new. I have deep knowledge how to do business within my niche. I know the problems of my site better than anyone. I am working on them.

    Search is a tremendous part of it. My questions was very specific, which was not answered.

  • http://www.linkedin.com/in/natewhite Nate White

    @Alex
    I think they’re answering your questions but just not in the direct way you want them to.
    You’ve admitted you’ve done wrong and in the Court of the Internet, Judge Google sentenced you to 40 hours of community service. Just doing your 40 hours isn’t going to make Google look at you in a positive light. Now you’ve got to go above and beyond your normal efforts to be in Google’s good graces again.
    And that means, what I think the other responders were alluding to, you’ve got to expand upon your current content. It doesn’t matter how good or how valuable your content is. Because you did bad before and corrected those mistakes it’s my guess that Google sees your site on an even playing field as a new site.
    You’ve got to make something entirely new, something that will make Google realize, “Hey, some of these old links WERE legit.” Then I think you’ll see a compounding effect as your new content garners links while your old content continues to inform, entertain, or whatever it is you aim to do.
    That’s my opinion on it though. Good luck to you!

  • http://www.comehike.com Alex Genadinik

    @Nate

    While that sounds somewhat plausible, is the process that you outline confirmed anywhere by google or you are just making this stuff up? Any real examples out there of what you said actually working?

    And I am not sure panda de-values old links. I think that might be a myth. Why would it de-value links from before?

  • http://www.comehike.com Alex Genadinik

    @Nate

    Also, just so there is no confusion: since my Panda hit, I have:

    1) added over 100 new high-quality pages which do not rank
    2) Added many new links from trusted sites
    3) Continued to improve the site for my users on a daily basis in every aspect

  • http://www.gamerstube.com Joe Youngblood

    @Alex

    1. I would move content to the subdomain that doesn’t match the main domain content, if indeed there is any. even if not it appears to be a way to get some content out of the Panda Penalty per the experiments at HubPages.

    maybe move groups to groups.comehike.com and hikes to hikes.comehike.com

    this will allow Panda to assess the content independently of each other and show you what it is that the bear isn’t liking so much

    2. Google thinks you have 117,000 pages. That seems unlikely to me, do you have some server side architectural issues that is causing big G to index more stuff than you really have? known issues include capitalization in the url, blocking with robots.txt instead of meta robots noindex, and url parameter mishandling.

    Check your Google Webmaster Tools for clues and hack away at your own URLs. What I found telling for pandalized clients was looking at G Analytics and looking at the ‘landing page’ from ‘google non-paid’ we started seeing pages blocked by robots.txt appear in this filter which shouldn’t have happened.

    Big G no longer handles duplicate content the way they used to and instead of telling us that policy had changed they were a little vengeful about it.

    3. All of your ‘scheduled hikes’ have the same title tag:
    http://www.comehike.com/hikes/scheduled_hike.php?hike_id=117
    http://www.comehike.com/hikes/scheduled_hike.php?hike_id=116

    4. All of your ‘hiker profiles’ have the same title tag:
    http://www.comehike.com/community/hiker_public_profile.php?community_member_id=151
    http://www.comehike.com/community/hiker_public_profile.php?community_member_id=126

    Honestly your best immediate move is to clean up the duplicate titles, etc.. and find out why G thinks you have over 100k pages. After that’s fixed move to subdomains for all content that shouldnt be on the main. My suggestion would be something like:
    groups.comehike.com
    hikes.comehike.com
    hikers.comehike.com
    articles.comehike.com

    or just:
    community.comehike.com
    articles.comehike.com

    leaving only the home page,. about, contact and support pages up..

    Overall strategy I would look at MapMyRun’s website as they do something similar but with running/biking mostly. And take ideas from there.

  • ChrisFree

    “how I can get out of a site-wide penalty by Google.”

    As if, there’s a list of park rules for hiking:
    1. A penalty is given but no reason stated;
    2. I ask a park-ranger;
    3. The ranger states: wandering off designated trail;
    4. I move back on to the designated trail;
    5. The penalty is removed and my hike continues.

    For websites and Google the scenario is probably more akin to:

    There’s a list of park guidelines for hiking:
    1. A penalty is given but no reason stated;
    2. I ask a park-ranger;
    3. The ranger states: please read the park guidelines;
    4. I pick up my trash but continue cutting switchbacks;
    5. I get banned from the park.

    I believe there is no way to verify that a specific
    change has caused a specific improvement
    with respect to the Panda algorithm changes.

    It’s likely no one can give such exact penalty
    information except the park-ranger that is Google.

    Most everything else are suggestions by fellow hikers
    based on what’s seen in reference to the guidelines.

  • http://www.linkedin.com/in/natewhite Nate White

    As far as an official Google response this is as close as I’ve seen it get: http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/2011/05/more-guidance-on-building-high-quality.html You may have seen that before.
    I think Chris’s last sentence hits it. We can’t know everything to do, we’re just offering suggestions.
    I brought up links because you have to think like an algorithm. If your site had good content and Panda content, SiteA.com linked to both your good and Panda content, I’d expect the algorithm to say, “SiteA.com linked to Panda content, therefore all links coming from SiteA.com must be of low quality.” All of a sudden your good content takes a hit as well. Do I have proof? Nope. Like I said, just trying to think like the algo.
    Out of your list it’s my suggestion to aim to get those 100 pages indexed. I’ve created separate XML sitemaps for personal projects to get specific content indexed, though I’m not sure if that’s considered a “best practice.”

  • Marc

    @Alex Genadinik

    My site escaped Panda (& Mayday) during this last update after we made significant changes. From looking briefly at your site, there are certainly things you need to do.

    You have at least 115,000 pages indexed in Google. That seems like a lot for your site. I’m hunting around the pages indexed in Google for your site and finding tons of thin content pages that have no business being in the Google index. These is exactly the types of pages that can get panda applied to your entire site regardless of whether or not you have good content elsewhere. Look for and “noindex” pages (or use robots.txt file for directories) which offer little to no unique content of value starting with the 3000+ profile pages on your site.

    Another red flag for me is your ad to content ratio on some page. In one case, you had a few small paragraphs of content with greater than 5 advertisements on the page. You need more content, less ads. Start with those ads that barely get any clicks. Search around for information into Google AdWords policy for determining quality partners by using content to ad ratio above the fold. It’s not a far stretch to believe Google’s organic ranking algo is using that as a factor.

  • http://www.dopdf.com/ D.P.

    One of our sites started recovering in the mid of July, I thought it was Panda 2.2 but it seems that we recovered after Panda 2.3 – wrote what changes we did here http://www.dopdf.com/forum/topic/dopdf-a-google-panda-recovery-case-study

  • http://www.morrowtech.co.uk/jon-wade Jon Wade

    Do we know if this latest update is a global one or US only? My UK site that was affected by Panda 2.0 has seen no change yet. Still hoping it will bounce back!

  • http://www.gamerstube.com Joe Youngblood

    @Alex Genadinik

    based on Dani Web’s recovery you might think about noindexing a lot of the shallow content on your site. hunt down rouge parameters, etc…

    good luck

  • http://www.comehike.com Alex Genadinik

    Hi everyone,

    Thanks for all your suggestions. One poster was right that I have dplicate title tags for member pages and hike pages. I’ll actually change that withing a day or two – good catch!!! :) Thanks!

    I did have 100k pages about parks – mostly thin content. That is why I was penalized. I have had the noindex tag on those pages for about a month now, and it looks like I have under 20k pages in G’s index still left.

    I think by the next Panda update, it should take out all the pages I need taken out and hopefully things will improve.

    Also, people can adjust the crawl rate so that maybe G will de-index pages faster…maybe…who knows :)

  • http://bellthebull.com/ khalid siddiqui

    Hi guys, me too got a punch from google panda as my site BelltheBull.com was doing well till April 2011 and suddenly from May traffic got down to one fourth.

    So please if anyone can help me out or make a suggestion what to do, it would be great.

    Thanks

  • http://www.coursework.infoandwww.thestudentroom.co.uk Pete

    Does anybody know if the latest Panda update (ie post 2.3 on July 23rd) has happened? Thanks in advance :)

  • johntravis

    The latest update (Panda 2.3) “incorporates some new signals that help differentiate between higher- and lower-quality sites.” “As a result, some sites are ranking higher after this most recent update,” according to a Google spokesman.

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