Google Panda 20 update

With the release of Google Panda 20, our SEO team have a look at what has changed and how it will effect your website.

This month has seen a considerable degree of activity within Google. The update frenzy all kicked off when Google confirmed with Search Engine Land that on September 27th they had released an update to the Panda algorithm - this is the 20th update since Panda first rolled out in February 2011. Recent updates had been rather minor 'refreshes', however, number 20 was much bigger. As Google revealed to Search Engine Land:

"A lot of the most-visible differences went live Thursday 9/27, but the full rollout is baking into our index and that process will continue for another 3-4 days or so. This update affects about 2.4% of English queries to a degree that a regular user might notice, with a smaller impact in other languages (0.5% in French and Spanish, for example)."

The key sentence here is 'This update affects about 2.4% of English queries to a degree that a regular user might notice.' By 'regular user' they are excluding those of us in the internet marketing industry that spend large proportions of our day examining the Google serps - suggesting that this is a much more noticeable update.

There were a number of facets of the original Panda update, principally:

  • To deal with low quality, 'thin' content websites in the index
  • Increase importance of user engagement
  • Ensure quality site coding and design

This latest update is likely to be a further refinement on the influence of these factors. Whatever the case, the continual Panda updates reinforce the message from Google that in order to maximise the ranking potential of your website, you must aim to provide quality, relevant content served on the most user friendly website possible.