Google Panda 4.2: What We Know So Far

Google just released Panda 4.2 a few months ago on July 18, 2015 and the rollouts will take awhile. The update came ten months after the release of Google Panda 4.1. Here’s what we know so far about the Panda 4.2 update.

It’ll affect 2-3% of the searches

Google confirmed that Panda 4.2 will only affect 2% to 3% of all the searches. This is lower compared to Panda 4.0 which affected 7.5% and Panda 4.1 which affected 3-5% of all the search queries. Remember that the affected search results don’t mean that the queries never saw the loss of search results from the new refresh. Pages that made a return to those search queries are also included.

It’s more of a refresh than an update

If you like digging into all the nuisances of Panda, you’ll soon notice that this is not really an update. It’s more of a refresh because it reapplies signals from the previous Panda for the current update.

What does ‘coming months’ mean?

Shortly after its release, a Google spokesman said that the new Panda update 4.2 would roll out over the coming months, it’s been nearly three months and Panda is still rolling out. So just what does ‘coming months’ mean? Is it two months, four months or six months, maybe even longer?

Long roll outs are nothing new to Google. It’s therefore not surprising that they aren’t hitting the entire refresh at once. Hopefully, Google will clarify how long the roll out will last sooner rather than later.

Too late for new changes

The updates have cut-off dates after which any changes applied will only take effect once the next update is released. You will need to keep updating your content and if you were affected by Panda previously, you’ll have to wait for the next refresh or update for any changes you have made to have a positive impact on your websites.

Who will be affected?

The Panda 4.2 may be rolling out slower than the previous updates but according to Pierre Far from Google, the update will positively affect many high quality small as well as medium sized sites. Small sites have been hit by previous updates leading to accusations of Google showing brand bias. However, it will make it harder to access some usual ‘winners and losers’ like we are used to.

Will Panda roll into the core algo?

There is a possibility that Google could be working on tweaking the core algo so that the positive signals will keep resurfacing the great content and so that low quality content will rank lower, ‘even though it might not be penalized. Rolling Panda 4.2 into the core algo might mean that the delays won’t be as bad as the previous ranking drops we have experienced.

The bottom line is, even though the average user can’t tell, the new Panda 4.2 has been rolling out for months. Hopefully, as the rollouts continue, we’ll see positive ranking improvements and quality sites with quality content will be rewarded. But then again, we might not. I guess time will tell.

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This post was supplied by Mark Stubbles, freelance SEO consultant and owner of Panda SEO.

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