Last week, Google rolled out Panda 2.2, which is the latest update in their Panda series. Google has yet to release a blog post about this update, but webmasters and SEO agencies have already seen a few ranking changes trickling in.
To be specific, Panda 2.2 is not technically an algorithm change, but rather a tweak of a ranking factor in the current algorithm, which Google uses to rank search results in order of relevance to the search query. According to Google’s Matt Cutts, one of the functions of Panda 2.2 will be to improve scraper detection. Scraper sites are known as sites that “scrape” original content from other websites; some complaints in the aftermath of Panda 1.0 indicated scraper sites were ranking higher than the originating websites, and Google is now seeking to rectify that problem.
As a refresher to Panda’s history, the first Panda update (aka ‘Panda 1.0’) occurred in late February 2011 and negatively affected many websites with shallow or unoriginal content, influencing around 12% of U.S. websites. Panda 2.0 was released in April and brought the initial update to all English-speaking sites worldwide as well as incorporated user blocking data. In May, Google released Panda 2.1, about which Google has been very silent, and which affected only a small amount of sites. Some have even speculated Panda 2.1 might have been a “check up” to see if any sites that were punished in the initial round had changed their ways and deserve a reprieve from “time-out”.
Panda 2.2 is unlikely to have any major changes associated with it, but rather is intended to improve user experience that much more. If you have any questions about whether or not your website has been affected by the Panda updates this year, your SEO agency will be able to effectively address your concerns and help you establish an appropriate SEO strategy for your business.