Google Panda 4.0 Update? A Diversification Update.

Sep 14, 2012 • 10:55 am | comments (31) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google PageRank & Algorithm Updates

Google Panda 4.0There is some serious uptick in webmaster and SEO chatter in the WebmasterWorld forums as of this morning in regards to a possible major Panda update. Major enough, we might upgrade the name from 3.9.X to a 4.0 release.

Update: Matt Cutts tweeted that there wasn't a Panda update but rather an update to the diversity of the search results. He wrote:

Just fyi, we rolled out a small algo change this week that improves the diversity of search results in terms of different domains returned.

Based on the communication, I suspect this is a Panda update and not a Penguin update, despite just having a Panda update, version 3.9.1 on August 20th, almost 4 weeks ago. So I guess we are due our monthly Panda update but still, we are eagerly awaiting the Penguin refresh.

The chatter picked up around 6:30am EDT at the forum. One webmaster said:

We saw a 50% increase in our Google referrals to a heavily panda'd site yesterday. It has been hit by multiple rounds of Panda and overall has lost 90% of its google traffic since Feb 2011. Has anyone else noticed a bump to a Panda'd site on Sept 14?

Another one said:

Yes, us too. One site of ours got nailed on the very first Panda, and yesterday was one,of the best days in a long time, increased traffic and solid conversions. Not sure it is Panda related though.

I did my research before 6:30 am, so didn't notice the chatter in my earlier coverage.

mozcastMozcast is reporting 88 degrees and turbulence for the day, so they seem to agree. But and SERP Metrics do not share the same findings. Maybe SEOmoz and and SERP Metrics run their tools at different times.

Did your site that was hit by Panda see any changes? Are you for the better or worse? Go check your analytics.

I will try to get confirmation from Google.

Past Panda Refreshes

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.

Previous story: Video Recap of Weekly Search Buzz :: September 14, 2012


Dr. Peter J. Meyers

09/14/2012 03:05 pm

We actually have two stations for MozCast (primary and backup) and one station shows the flux, while the other doesn't. The primary hits a minimum of two data centers and both show it. The stations run nearly simultaneously, so it seems like more than timing is going on. Could be a test or partial roll-out? This is the biggest mismatch I've seen with SERPmetrics and our two stations. Can't say who's right or wrong - we're all learning as we go and trying to add to the general knowledge, IMO.


09/14/2012 04:05 pm

Instead of posting rumors and speculation why don't you wait until you actually have some confirmation from Google? At least then we will know what's really going on....

Dr. Peter J. Meyers

09/14/2012 04:08 pm

In many cases, Barry is the one who takes the rumor and speculation to Google, who then confirms or denies it. One thing I've learned in tracking this data is that, if we don't speculate, they may just not tell us. Their "transparency" has been accomplished with a lot of of poking and prodding by our industry.


09/14/2012 04:33 pm

John, you actually read here, but don't know what link bait it? These posts are great for link bait

Chase Anderson

09/14/2012 04:42 pm

Disagree - Keep up with the speculation and rumor. Everyone should make their own determination regarding the validity. Hopefully Google will confirm or deny this

Andrew Pflug

09/14/2012 05:09 pm

My traffic tanked two days ago on one site...was down 50% first day, another 50% yesterday... damn near dead today.. still getting google organic though...also, I noticed inside webmasters tools that about 10k indexed pages disappeared.

Webstats Art

09/14/2012 07:09 pm

Wow.. Yesterday one of my crappiest websites spiked in traffic. I could understand why google would rank crappy websites like this because it makes the adverts more relevant and people will click on them and google share prices will rise. I think this is a good move for google and their shareholders.

Chase Anderson

09/14/2012 07:53 pm

What site?


09/14/2012 08:06 pm

Barry, you do a great job bringing this info to light... I appreciate it as well as my team here at Go Daddy

Jim Christian

09/14/2012 08:07 pm

Barry, you do a great job bringing this info to light... I appreciate it as well as my team here at Go Daddy

Scott Krager

09/14/2012 08:50 pm

Look pretty quiet here at but Google seems to be fans of weekend rollouts lately, so maybe we'll see something the next few days.


09/14/2012 09:10 pm

Interesting, very interesting. No difference in any of my sites though I wasn't hit by any updates.


09/14/2012 09:35 pm

I have one site that recovered last panda that has slowed down somewhat today. However it could be just the lead up to weekend slow time. Interestingly this site gets lots of image searches and that has sowed down much more than web search.

Ian Mason

09/15/2012 03:04 am

Is this change related to all the complaints people have been voicing about ONE site owning many pages of serps for a query?


09/15/2012 03:08 am

Why would this be a Panda update ?


09/15/2012 04:56 am

Confirmed by Matts:


09/15/2012 12:24 pm

The whole SEO industry is about rumors and speculations. They are heavily loosing customers after Panda and the only way to attract attention is by spreading more rumors and speculations. This has nothing to do with the real web development, but with sort of journalism, pure yellow press.


09/15/2012 09:19 pm

Yes, it’s definitely something happened with Panda on September, I’ve a lot of “gray hat” sited deindexed on September 12, and a few “white hat” sites. Very disappointed for white sites. So now I do not see any sense to spend time and money to white sites with unique content since it can be so easy treated as spam and deindexed as well.


09/15/2012 09:36 pm

Yawn, where's the penguin update?


09/15/2012 09:56 pm

Barry, I ask again the question, but why do you tag this update as Panda related ? Looks more like a fix because Google did show way too many results from the same site. That was not "normal". I don't see what's the relation with Panda.

Barry Schwartz

09/16/2012 12:39 am

I update the story a while ago.


09/16/2012 01:14 pm

It's may simply be an update to the Google project in test to display now 4 organic links on the first page of results. What do you think about it ?


09/16/2012 02:06 pm

Love Matt Cutts' explanation! He really cares about the average webmasters and the ecosystem, he is honest.


09/16/2012 06:10 pm

1000 ways to die: - This shows some weird Youtube vids all through the top 300 results. I don't see any changes here.


09/16/2012 08:59 pm

Add Barry and Danny Sullivan to the list. They are really honest and tell us what we need to know, not conspiracy theories that make Google look bad. Long Live Google. Long Live Comrades Barry Schwartz, Danny Sullivan, Tedster and other honest observers.


09/17/2012 08:29 am

"improves the diversity of search results in terms of different domains returned" - today i've had two cases where 1 domain has had two listings on the first page of Google. Great job Google!!

Jack Hutchinson

09/17/2012 09:21 am

My site dropped from page one to page 3 for certain search terms over the weekend, but is back on page one today. Crisis averted....for now!


09/17/2012 11:26 am

For my sites, the big effect was on Aug 16. Haven't noticed much since then.

Oleg Korneitchouk

09/17/2012 04:56 pm

Don't think it's Panda related.. their twitter always announces when it is a Panda refresh. This is probably a Venice update (domain diversification related). Although I haven't seen too many changes in SERPs.

09/21/2012 01:50 pm

Everything good on my sites.. Thanks for bringing this up once again.

Sachin Gupta

10/04/2012 09:36 am

We are watching an Action movie named “GOOGLE” Produced & Directed by Google Team; Script Writer Mr. Matt. Now Google looks like villain for all search marketers. These updates like Gun shoots on our business. As Google starts these update lot’s of people lots their business and job. I have seen lots of domain in search results on that having EMD but they are on top, it just because of they are paying to Google in anyway. Google wants to use their programs so that it would be benefited to them. I really appreciate about the quality results Google wants to provide but why Google norms always works for small biz. Google wants to rule on the Search. Most of the webmasters try to follow the Google guidelines some of them not but why all business owners suffer for this. Google should understand about the how many businesses are depended on their search results. As WORLD economy is on slow down, people have no money to invest and job. And These kind of updates like day ghost. As we know Google Adsense program not approve the website that having the adult content or image but about the Top News website that having this kind of content & images with Adsense program. It just because of they are big clients and having lot’s of daily visitors. Google should keep in mind about the small player. Please Google update your algorithm in a time frame not daily. *** Google Always deny these facts BUT Truth is a Truth ***

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