It’s been a few weeks since Google confirmed that there was in fact a Panda refresh on August 19, so it’s obviously a great time to reflect on its effects.
While the Panda update dramatically affected users initially, the most recent refresh affected a mere 1% of queries. And while some users have been negatively affected by the ongoing Panda refreshes, the periodic updates have allowed other users to recover from initial Panda penalties that inhibited visibility in the search engine results page for months. However, moving forward, Google announced that the Panda updates will affect fewer users as the algorithm is more stable after being in place for over a year (horray!). Penguin, on the other hand, has a bumpy future ahead and will continue to affect users while Google iterates the improvements of the algorithm (uh-ohhh).
Google announced that in the future, Panda refreshes will roughly occur on a monthly basis and will be far less “jolting” than the initial update (phew). Panda updates will act as a maintenance project through data refreshes and will be noticed by very few, according to Google.
On the other hand, Google’s Penguin update is comparatively new and will continue to have major effects on users as Google continues its crusade against black hat techniques that violate their Quality Guidelines and create webspam. According to Google, Penguin’s impact will continue to be significant until their engineers determine the exact signals that will be included in the Penguin algorithm to eliminate offending websites. In essence, the road ahead is icy…get it, for PENGUINS?
While the unknown associated with Google’s efforts to perfect their Penguin update is frightening for some, there are certain benefits to their ongoing tests for others. Specifically, those who were previously penalized by Penguin may have an opportunity to recover from penalties if they have fixed their offenses to Google’s Quality Guidelines. As always, those who take the warning as an advantageous opportunity to repair their quality score will stay competitive, and those who don’t will get buried in the search results page.
If there is one constant with Google, it is change. Nothing is really new here; the search marketing landscape will continue to evolve but it is nothing to lose sleep over. Google will keep iterating their algorithms and search marketers will continue to adapt to the ever-changing search environment.