Official: It’s Google Panda Update 23, Impacting ~1.3% Of Queries

Google has confirmed rumors of a Google update announcing on Twitter that they pushed out a Panda data refresh today impacting about 1.3% of English queries.

This would make for the 23rd Panda update since the first Panda algorithm was introduced on February 24, 2011. Since then we had 22 updates both to the algorithm and also to the index or data refreshes.

The latest impacted 1.3% of the queries, whereas version 22 impacted only 0.8% of English queries.

We did see signs of a major update a week ago but Google told us there was no such update. Then again, I reported early signs of another update at the Search Engine Roundtable and Google confirmed it on Twitter.

Honestly, I am surprised they released a data refresh right before Christmas. Last year Google promised they would not update the Panda algorithm or do data refreshes until after the holidays – this year, I guess they decided not to wait.

Here are all the releases so far for Panda:

  1. Panda Update 1, Feb. 24, 2011 (11.8% of queries; announced; English in US only)
  2. Panda Update 2, April 11, 2011 (2% of queries; announced; rolled out in English internationally)
  3. Panda Update 3, May 10, 2011 (no change given; confirmed, not announced)
  4. Panda Update 4, June 16, 2011 (no change given; confirmed, not announced)
  5. Panda Update 5, July 23, 2011 (no change given; confirmed, not announced)
  6. Panda Update 6, Aug. 12, 2011 (6-9% of queries in many non-English languages; announced)
  7. Panda Update 7, Sept. 28, 2011 (no change given; confirmed, not announced)
  8. Panda Update 8, Oct. 19, 2011 (about 2% of queries; belatedly confirmed)
  9. Panda Update 9, Nov. 18, 2011: (less than 1% of queries; announced)
  10. Panda Update 10, Jan. 18, 2012 (no change given; confirmed, not announced)
  11. Panda Update 11, Feb. 27, 2012 (no change given; announced)
  12. Panda Update 12, March 23, 2012 (about 1.6% of queries impacted; announced)
  13. Panda Update 13, April 19, 2012 (no change given; belatedly revealed)
  14. Panda Update 14, April 27, 2012: (no change given; confirmed; first update within days of another)
  15. Panda Update 15, June 9, 2012: (1% of queries; belatedly announced)
  16. Panda Update 16, June 25, 2012: (about 1% of queries; announced)
  17. Panda Update 17, July 24, 2012:(about 1% of queries; announced)
  18. Panda Update 18, Aug. 20, 2012: (about 1% of queries; belatedly announced)
  19. Panda Update 19, Sept. 18, 2012: (less than 0.7% of queries; announced)
  20. Panda Update 20 , Sep. 27, 2012 (2.4% English queries, impacted, belatedly announced
  21. Panda Update 21, Nov. 5, 2012 (1.1% of English-language queries in US; 0.4% worldwide; confirmed, not announced)
  22. Panda Update 22, Nov. 21, 2012 (0.8% of English queries were affected; confirmed, not announced)
  23. Panda Update 23, Dec. 21, 2012 (1.3% of English queries were affected; confirmed, announced)

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


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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  • daveintheuk

    I’m not surprised at Google’s decision to unleash another Panda update on businesses 4 days before Christmas – I’m afraid it just typifies how heartless, nay spiteful they are now. Panda is just a mechanism to beat down sites that compete in Niches Google wants to make money from so perhaps Q4′s figures weren’t looking great?

  • James A Seibert

    my rankings got hit on the 18th. seems the official announce is a few days after rolling out.

  • Joe Griffin

    Nice recap Barry – thanks for managing these updates. It’s helpful.

  • Ranking Signals

    Does anyone have a feel for how the “weights” changed for various ranking signals? We’re seeing signs that sites with high proportions of keyword rich inbound links (vs. branded links) are suffering the most.

  • Syakir Rahman

    wow.. nice posts. thanks for your goodness to share this. I waiting your other nice posts..

  • Mark Robertson

    ditto @twitter-14501115:disqus

  • kenyob

    I guess they figured that since it may be too late for most people to ship gifts it wouldn’t rock the boat too much.

  • Brandon Lobo

    Well, my traffic on one site is down 85% as of yesterday!

  • David S Freid

    I am surprised! We actually went higher in our target keyword rankings… FYI

  • Mayur Vyas

    My site was on 8 spot for my niche keyword and now i see it is on the 100 spot, honestly it’s a no spamming of keywords and pure data on what we do how we do and fact and case studies…what do google expect me to show

  • Michael Martinez

    Panda is not supposed to be about links. However, sites that depend on inbound link anchor tend to do a poor job of managing their on-page optimization.

  • Juggernart Games

    Suggestion: Google could simply randomize their results on a weekly base, exclusing positions 1 to 5 (instead of making use of Panda, Penguin and other poor animals). It would have had the same effect! :rolleyes:

  • Ranking Signals

    Michael, I don’t think that’s necessarily true. Sure, _some_ sites that “depend” on inbound links with keyword-rich anchor text have poorly optimized sites, but in competitive spaces, on-page alone isn’t enough.

  • Brandy Cross

    hmm, well when you consider that we saw a LOT of changes right around the 12th, I was actually expecting that to have been an update, since the new update is rolling out soon, I hope they reverse a few things, for example Wikipedia fell a couple of spots on more than 20% of the search terms I’ve tested, sometimes aren’t even on the first page. And we know Wikipedia wasn’t violating their SEO …. or were they?

  • oa ultimate

    So it was panda doing Kung-Fu on my blog last time, and then surprised me yesterday as the traffic back to normal.

  • Michael Martinez

    Of course it’s true. One of the great lies SEOs tell each other is that you HAVE to rely on links as much as you do. I don’t just make this stuff up. It’s based on long experience and a LOT of testing and highly competitive SEO.

  • Shazida Khatun

    I think , this update will Spoil Christmas & New Year celebration of some bloggers and webmasters.

  • Durant Imboden

    It’s easy to forget that, for every site that’s hurt by an update, there’s another site that gains. Also, if Google is correct in saying that about 1.3 percent of English-language search queries will be affected by this Panda data refresh, the overall impact should be relatively modest.

  • Larry Kim

    seos are so screwed…

  • daveintheuk

    Not just “bloggers and webmasters” – real businesses that are responsible for paying the wages of real people and their dependants. An uncomfortable thought I suspect most Googlers push to the back of their minds.

  • a1brandz

    This really surprise me why Google is rolling out updates so frequent? What is his real intention?

    It won’t be wrong to say that Google being tyrant for all SEO community.

  • James

    “Real businesses” do not rely on Google’s organic results as their sole source of customers.

  • James

    Let’s see your site so we can see if it was unfairly demoted.

  • daveintheuk

    Many that I know do… not because of the way their businesses is structured but because of consumer behaviour changing (ie: researching or searching to find). Obviously it is not the sole source, but it is becoming an bigger factor.

    Regardless of anything else, it is a heartless time of year to roll out a punishing algorithm update – it will cause many website and business owners sleepless nights over the Christmas period.

  • James

    Fair point (your first paragraph). But any business that relies on another business (e.g. Google) to bring them free customers, yet has no real relationship or partnership with that business, are always going to be vulnerable to that business’s whims.

  • Ken

    Hi, Looks like everybody should stop trying to figure Google out and go another way. How can you figure them out when they can’t figure themselves out. Maybe it depends where you are located but when I do a search here, Google is not in number one position for “search engine, search engines, best search engine” just to name a few. For 2 of those keywords they are not even on page 1. If they can’t get themselves to number one, I would not bother to try to figure them out. When buying an e-book or video course on SEO for number one spot, you may as well as buy a product to win the loto. I buy them the seo courses too, lol. It use to work.

  • Geoff Talbot

    Mine too!

  • Blogging Mentor

    maybe when the sign that profits is getting smaller, then the Panda got an update

  • Blogging Mentor

    Our websites are enjoying good ranking with totally clean optimization in order to protect us from any Algo changes. But now we are hit with 25% traffic lost

  • SilentM

    tell us a little more about your site and the kind of searches where it is now ranked low. I do want to know whether someone lamenting revenue loss is a honest family run business or a drug dealer!

  • Virtual Assistant

    I agree with you, they randomize their search result. Google thrown my website out of SE for all the keywords, the site now back in SE but with bad ranking.

  • Dexter Jhonson

    Thank you : Barry Schwartz for nice listed up in Google panda update on ..

  • Mariya James

    I also found a change in my keywords ranking. :( This was an update so obviously when I read this post I got scared and checked my keywords ranking and traffic. But I have unique content on my website, so yes I was not badly effected from this update. :(

  • Derrick Hicks

    lol @ “free customers” from Google. Real SEO, or being an industry thought leader, is not free at all. Real businesses might not rely on Google, but if the faucet was turned off over night… let’s just say Christmas wouldn’t have been so great this year at the real company I work for. The “real businesses don’t rely on Google” line is not accurate at all. They all rely on every single one of the traffic sources they get. Could they survive with out one or two? Maybe, but Christmas still would have been spoiled for most of them.

  • Durant Imboden

    A data refresh that affects 1.3% of English-language search queries is relatively modest.

    Cumulative effects over 25 updates and refreshes (actually 23, if we’re talking about Panda) are another matter.

  • Olivia Brown

    The keyword ranking of Android application development page of my site improved markedly but at the same time keywords of iPhone page did fall. Hows that?

  • C Thiruvenkatam

    I wish, they may do updates on monthly basis. Because, there are so many so called SEOs and SEMs are promoting websites using short-cut methods. These are affecting the hard genuine workers ‘hard work’. If Google wants to number one on search engines, they really need to block all loopholes.

  • Chris Hills SEO

    So we are all going to see higher-quality sites near the top of the search results! there has been many updates now since 2011.I keep this as my algorithm update database.

  • Chris Taby

    Why is it that every time there is an update one of my sites falls into the 1% affected? Bah humbug!

  • Shalu Sharma

    How nice of them.

  • Perusing Shelves

    I agree that the timing for the change is bad but fortunately traffic went up by around 15% for us –

  • Search Results Media

    I think instead of blaming, we should focus on improving ranking on bing…Bing will be on the top in upcoming years.

  • Guest

    For those who depend on the reliability of Google to

  • Essays Online

    Was there an update just a couple of days ago as my website is not out of google on every possible keyword. It was on the first page, but now its gone, I cant find it anywhere on google. We’re hit badly, kindly assist..

  • Lucas Raby

    Has there been any update in the last week? Seems rankings have gone down on our site from rank 1-3 to 7-9 for most of major keywords when we have only been doing white hat guest blogging etc … no silly stuff and now we are being pinged by google… ???

  • ramandeep singh

    Thanks for this update please write how to save work we can do for batter ranking of our site

  • David Frankk

    I, for one, am probably one of the few people who was affected by Google Panda on 22nd Jan 2013. Lots of research and a week later I have now got my old rankings back (back in the first page) after reading this post.

  • Squarefish

    I am not even surprised that they’ll be releasing another update this coming Friday or Monday. Well I think I will be happy with this update because it is aimed to protect searchers from bad merchants.

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