Pierre Far, Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google UK, announced on Google+ last night that a new Panda update is rolling out. The update began rolling out earlier this week, and Far says he expects to have everything done by sometime next week.
Google has been able to discover additional signals to help Panda more accurately identify low quality content, thanks to user and webmaster feedback. As a result, a greater diversity of high-quality small- and medium-sized sites are said to be ranking higher, which is good news.
Another piece of good news is if you were penalized by Panda previously, then this update means the damage may have been undone if you did all the right things to correct the issue. If you see an increase in traffic by the end of next week, then it’s a good sign this update worked out in your favor.
However, as with any algorithm update, it won’t work out so well for everyone. If you were not hit by Panda before, then this update marks another chance for Google to throttle your site if it detects low quality content. If you see a sharp drop in traffic by the end of next week, there’s a good chance Panda is the culprit.
SEJ Founder Loren Baker took a moment to weigh in on this update and provide his expert analysis:
This new Panda algorithmic update reinforces the fact that Google is not a fan of thin content and that crawl efficiency along with serving clear and direct data messages to Google are becoming more important than ever.
Specializing XML sitemaps, trimming back on thin content and making sure that you are serving Google exactly what they need with minimal effort expended on part of Google-bot needs to be a huge emphasis. More so, also making sure that even in XML sitemaps, crawl priority is properly defined, and old content is not recrawled unless there is specific reason.
The more that SEOs can serve Google basic data without mixed messages (for example conflicts with sitemap, WMT, URL parameter and robots.txt commands) the more Google is going to reward the SEO.
Depending on where you’re located, around 3-5% of queries are affected.