20th Google Panda Algorithm Update: Fairly Major

Oct 4, 2012 • 8:39 am | comments (40) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google PageRank & Algorithm Updates

Google Panda 20Yesterday we broke the news that there was an other update that overlapped the EMD update that we had on friday targeting exact match domains.

I wasn't sure what that update was, so I emailed our friends at Google and Matt Cutts responded that it was a Panda update that began to roll out on Thursday and has been continuing to roll out even today and will likely finish rolling out through the weekend.

This is not a basic data refresh to the Panda algorithm, it is an update to the algorithm itself. Meaning, new sites and old sites are more likely to be impacted even without making any changes. In fact, Matt said 2.4% of English queries were impacted and 0.5% of non-English queries were impacted.

Here is the quote:

Google began rolling out a new update of Panda on Thursday, 9/27. This is actually a Panda algorithm update, not just a data update. A lot of the most-visible differences went live Thursday 9/27, but the full rollout is baking into our index and that process will continue for another 3-4 days or so. This update affects about 2.4% of English queries to a degree that a regular user might notice, with a smaller impact in other languages (0.5% in French and Spanish, for example).

Panda Overlaps EMD Update

Now, this is overlapping the EMD update! So it would be hard for some EMDs to know if the EMD update hurt them or if it was a Panda update that hurt them. I hate when Google does this but they likely had good reason to do so. Matt Cutts is not dumb, he understands the webmaster - despite what most of you think - and he made a conscious decision to let a major Panda update overlap the EMD update.

Panda #20: Why Not Panda 4.0

Why are we moving away from version numbers for the Panda update? Technically, I would have named it Panda 4.0, but Danny Sullivan decided he rather just number them based on how many updates there have been. So we had 20 Panda updates and only 2 Penguin updates (at least on the record).

Past Google Panda Update:

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld, Google+ and Google Webmaster Help.

Previous story: One Week Later: Nudity Still In Google's Search Results



10/04/2012 01:03 pm

now life really becomes interesting. Those Google updates are like the Lost series: it's exciting to watch them unfold but you feel sorry and disappointed at the end and it feels like they never stop coming ...


10/04/2012 01:08 pm

You said it Barry: hard to determine whether our sites were hurt by EMD or Panda. I would sincerely HOPE that Google had a legitimate reason for the overlay. This all seems like a riddle that I now have to solve moving forward.

Praveen Sharma

10/04/2012 01:13 pm

"Panda Overlaps EMD Update" - This is interesting, Google's updates are overlapping each other. Now, are they thinking about a new algorithm update to prevent these overlapping?:)

Terry Van Horne

10/04/2012 01:45 pm

hmmm Matt first says it is just another algo update...then it's a major Panda update running 1 day before the EMD which was the same pattern as GooPLA in that Panda ran 1 day beore it...but Panda and EMD update are not related in any way... expecting they will finally unleash that jolting Penguin update cuz EMD was IMO, just the first wave... we'll see... it's way overdue as no one knows if the link removal is doing anything because they won't know for sure until the Penguin is unleashed again


10/04/2012 01:46 pm

Lets pray whatever is cooking will be ready for production after the weekend and we all recover some of our losses once the cake is fully baked in the index. :)


10/04/2012 03:39 pm

"So it would be hard for some EMDs to know if the EMD update hurt them or if it was a Panda update that hurt them. I hate when Google does this but they likely had good reason to do so. Matt Cutts is not dumb, he understands the webmaster - despite what most of you think - and he made a conscious decision to let a major Panda update overlap the EMD update." This is to confuse site owners and hide whatever Google *really* tried to do. Watch their earnings next quarter, that's all

Barry Schwartz

10/04/2012 03:47 pm

Why would their earnings drop because the updates overlapped?


10/04/2012 04:06 pm

Earnings will INCREASE you low IQ Google bot. Google has manipulated $$ keywords yet again so by bundling 2 "quality updates" together they are hiding what they really did. Extremely hard to pinpoint for webmasters.

Nick Stamoulis

10/04/2012 06:20 pm

I know Google makes tweaks every day, but major overlaps like this make it that much harder for a site owner to figure out exactly where they went wrong, especially if they are doing it on their own.

Mike Kalil

10/04/2012 06:49 pm

I'm not saying I agree, but I think he means that by confusing webmasters, they'll have a harder time restoring their rankings and be more likely to invest in PPC.


10/04/2012 09:48 pm

Barry is just trying to get under your skin ;)


10/04/2012 09:53 pm

I think that's the point... They basically want you to have no control over the SERPs.

Takeshi Young

10/04/2012 10:09 pm

Panda 4.0 makes more sense... with the point releases, we can more easily distinguish between the actual algo updates and the refreshes.


10/05/2012 01:05 am

I have seen Barry being called lots of things but that is one of the funnier ones :)

Yogesh Patel

10/05/2012 03:24 am

I lost 70 % of the traffic from 27 September for two of my blogs. Any ideas on how can I recover from this drop ??

Khalid Irfan

10/05/2012 03:52 am

This is confusing now, few of my EMD got hit and still few of my EMD's are still on top, i dont know whether its hit by EMD update or panda :)


10/05/2012 05:30 am

why would Matt Cutts announce on Twitter minor EMD update that affects 0.6% queries and not much bigger Panda update which rolled at the same time which affected 2.4% queries? Can anyone answer to this question? Why he admitted Panda first after some SEOs pushed him about about meaningless results from EMD update? Was there Panda at all or was it like "our EMD update created a mess, lets roll Panda to cover everything up." Any meaningful answer to why major update was not announced while minor update was would be appreciated.

James Barker

10/05/2012 08:27 am

"you low IQ Google bot" .... crying with laughter LOL LOL

Matt Cutts is a FRAUD

10/05/2012 08:28 am

Because Panda is linked to penalties that increase Google's revenue. Matt Cutts, the POS liar and manipulator, tried to hide this major Panda update. Never mind Barry not asking any questions This update is Google's new revenue source for the fourth quarter, that's all. Gooogle is rigged. Matt Cutts is a fraud/

Peter Mutiso

10/05/2012 09:46 am

That's is his style - though not good

Ben Guest

10/05/2012 12:39 pm

Which ones are using AdWords? I bet they didn't get hit... ;-)

Ben Guest

10/05/2012 12:48 pm

Are we SEO slaves to Danny boy? Why does he get to number them? As you can tell his numbering is completely dumb, and has no basis. It's just a bunch of numbers thrown into the wind, but us followers must follow, huh? Sorry, I worked in development, and understand how most companies come up with their version numbers. The way Danny is doing it is just flat out dumb. Sorry Danny.


10/05/2012 01:36 pm

If we were waiting on a Panda refresh, would this have counted? Or was this just an algorithm update without a data refresh?


10/05/2012 01:40 pm

If you call Barry low IQ Google bot, they why the hell are you on his site to begin with.


10/06/2012 03:30 am

SEO guys must be very lucky. They have time to debate about how to number updates .... Why are they crying all the time lately ? Lost in numbers ?

James W

10/06/2012 12:28 pm

another one, this is too much :(, we'll see what happens

Nick Ker

10/06/2012 03:11 pm

Should it be any different? That is kind of Google's job. Webmasters should be be concerned with making their site the best it can be for users, technically and content wise - not focusing primarily on what one particular search engine "wants". We've all heard this before but seem to have forgotten what it means "design/write/create content for people not search engines". Words mean things.

Ian Scott

10/06/2012 08:38 pm

Yes, so much for all that "transparency" Mr. Cutts speaks of from time to time.

Webstats Art

10/07/2012 01:16 am

A clever person I know who is planning for the future abandoned Goofle bAdwords since the first Bandana update and spent the money on marketing and sales that compete with goofle. He also increased his manpower to directly contact clients as well. This is a war for him between organic sales (literally contacting people directly) and automation/algorithms/search engines that turn his business into a kind of search engine slot machine. In the beginning it really sucked because he saw a slump in sales but now it is beginning to bear fruit. The difference between what he is doing and what his competitors are doing (they use bAdwords and love goofle). is that his investments provide sustainable growth i.e. his business is becoming less and less dependent on anything goofle and HE DOES NOT HAVE TO INCREASE HIS BUDGET every time that goofle knocks his website down a few pegs in the search or when the bAdwords become more expensive. If you are running a serious business that depends on clients from the internet, then you might want to consider planning for the future i.e. the next five years. Spend your money on something that is sustainable. Sustainability is now the name of the game and that game should do everything possible to eliminate the stronghold that goofle has on your business.


10/07/2012 06:41 pm

this latest update seems to have impacted article directories like hubpages fairly hard. i have about 100 articles there and after the 28th articles that had been on page 1 (original content, written by me, no illegal links back to them) have disappeared. 1 articles had been either the #1, #2 or #3 spot on page 1 for more than 3 years (bringing in some nice traffic) and is now gone. most of the traffic to my "hubs" from organic search has disappeared overnight, right after the 28th. i guess google no longer needs/wants to support a content network where they generate revenue from "content network" ads, or they are moving exclusively to keyword targeted ad revenue (and hence need to wipe out good content off page 1). your thoughts?


10/07/2012 08:56 pm

Yeah, I'm tired of Google also. I actually have $100.00 sitting in my Adwords account from when they tried to entice me months ago. I don't even feel like spending it... As for Google's search results, no lie, they are getting bad. I think they are trying so hard to teach us all a lesson that they have actually managed to shoot themselves in the foot. For example, the domain crowding is getting ridiculous. On one search, I saw 1 site taking up about 90% of the search results. I went through about 10 pages and they make up about 7 out of 10 results on every page. I think I know what's going on though. Google can't fix the domain crowding issue because they are running out of "quality" sites for certain search terms. For example when a site doesn't meet their "quality" standards they just swap that site with a "quality" site and this is why the domain crowding exists and why it will continue to exist. It's funny, even on low volume searches, they refuse to show a panda or penguin hit site even if it is relevant to the query. Who would want to look at 10 pages that consist of the same site? Sure the ads are diversified, but on these low volume searches they aren't even relevant enough due to a low number of advertisers... So in the end, people are having a hard time finding relevant sites. The other day I had hard time finding results, but luckily, I came across a forum that suggested a site. Funny thing is, that site is no where to be found in Google's results even though it is relevant to the search query.


10/07/2012 10:30 pm

Well, it depends on the type of sites that you're referring to. When people talk about these updates, they are talking as if we all have blogs. There is more to the web then writing and some of these updates prevent people from finding useful tools and certain information.


10/08/2012 06:36 am

noticed the same thing about domain crowding. on 2 pages I saw 14 results from same domain. quality of search results decreased every time they rolled out panda or penguin updates, however no one wants to cover this. You cannot find a single article about this, no one is asking questions about quality of search. I guess non of SEO blogs have courage to ask questions anymore, its just "thin" content all the way we are reading these days...

John Brown

10/08/2012 07:35 am

hope it hoohle days, later will lot of legal action against google.


10/09/2012 03:30 pm

I really hope Google loses that Antitrust lawsuit battle! LOL. Google has been abusing its Monopoly power for too long...

Ben Guest

10/10/2012 06:58 am

Listen Anti-pain in my...just messing witcha. ;-) My point is, some of us like to research an algorithm impact to a new or potential client. Sure would be nice to have...wait for it... Panda [reported release #].[mm].[dd].[yy] Panda I know what Panda does. I don't have to read it every time they update it. I just need to know a date so I can go back and read the data to know if their idiot content writer that claims to be an SEO content writer posted some content around that period. Danny did ask in one of his posts what we should do for numbers and out of all the suggestions, he gets #20. YAY!

Ben Guest

10/10/2012 07:04 am

And notice I didn't say "current client". ;-)

Nick Ker

10/10/2012 06:26 pm

Good point - the whole "create great content" thing does not make a lot of sense for some sites. But at some point, no matter how good your site or app is in function, you need to tell the search engines what it is. A text-free photography site, or a web app that does really cool things but has no text is usually not easily understood by bots. Owners of such sites need to understand that Google and other search engines won't understand what that site is if they don't give enough clues either on the site itself or by becoming so popular and well-linked that you don't need much explanation.

Webstats Art

10/11/2012 07:55 pm

Google is a company that has made money from copying other people's websites and delivering snippets to the world on their own website. No doubt this was a good idea but it is nothing to be proud of. The whole principle for success relied on copying others. Copying other people is profitable for Google but once you have copied enough (like google has) you have an identity problem and want to become legit - just like the mafia who end up buying supermarket chains. Of course goggle can use adwords money to buy satellites and invest in handphones, cars and other technology but the fact remains that they do not have anything to be proud of. That is why they are constantly trying to invade everyone's space and compete in their sphere. The people who work for google would not last 5 minutes in the real business world.. a world that puts people in a position where they don't know if they can make it through the next quarter. Google employees will have no idea how to work in a small/medium sized business with limited finances. They can't possibly work for real companies because they are living in a la-la land where they currently have a printing press in HQ that spits out billions of dollars automatically. Expect Google employees to become more and more out of touch with reality. If I was working for Google, I would want to leave right now and get a real job. Screw the free food and the other associated nonsense. I'd rather live with all the other people outside who are struggling to make ends meat.

Rachel Roodhardt

10/12/2012 01:25 pm

Hi, I've written an article about these google updates and some suggestions on how to recover. http://rachelroodhardt.hubpages.com/hub/Panda-20-and-EMD-Google-Algorithm-Recovery-Plan . I hope you find it useful.

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