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by Nathan S

Rolling Panda Updates

The following is a quote from a recent announcement from Google:

High-quality sites algorithm improvements. [launch codenames “PPtl” and “Stitch”, project codename “Panda”] In 2011, we launched the Panda algorithm change, targeted at finding more high-quality sites. We improved how Panda interacts with our indexing and ranking systems, making it more integrated into our pipelines. We also released a minor update to refresh the data for Panda.”

There is some debate on what, exactly, the phrase, “more integrated into our pipelines,” means for the various people who work in the web design industry, particularly those who work as SEOs. Some are claiming that rolling updates are, officially, “here” for Google, and point to the fact that adjustments to Panda-slapped sites are taking hold much quicker than they were before as evidence of this point. Others remain uncertain as to where Google is on this whole process, and others still just see it as an increase in the frequency of updates, not a rolling update at all.

So where do we stand on this? The phrase “more integrated” certainly seems to imply a trend towards automation for the SEO ranking factor, so to consider it nothing more than an increased frequency of update seems to be a bit misguided. Google, though not always perfectly forthcoming in their description of an update, usually regards integration as the degree to which something has been automated. So, by calling Panda “more integrated,” Google is implying that the ranking factor has been automated in some way. However, how deeply the algorithm has been automated is uncertain.

In the end, though, the announcement is more important for what it means to those who have been Panda-slapped (full disclosure: none of our clients have reported having this problem). It means a quicker response from Google when attempts to improve your site’s overall quality. More importantly, it means that sites which were previously ranked low due to Panda issues will now be able to recover their standing more quickly. The update reinforces Google’s eventual goal of making Panda a rolling update. Until then, the best thing to do is continually improve the quality of your website’s content. Eventually, Panda will reward this behavior.

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