Confirmed: A Panda Refresh, Version #23

Dec 21, 2012 • 8:46 am | comments (68) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google PageRank & Algorithm Updates

Google Panda HolidayUpdate: Google has confirmed that this is a Panda refresh. This would make it version 23 and it impacted about 1.3% of English based queries.

I should note, I am shocked they pushed out a refresh before the holiday seasons. Last year they promised they would not do a Panda update before the holidays. What a difference a year makes.

A week ago, we reported on some very strong signs of a Google Update last Thursday. Google told us there was no update, not Panda and not anything. Webmasters feel Google is either lying or are clueless

That being said, there are now new reports in the same WebmasterWorld thread of an update hitting a few hours ago in the Google search results.

Someone even asked me on Twitter if there was a Panda update:

In the WebmasterWorld thread, here are some of the posts:

Looked like something got rolled back to me. My positions have all reverted to where they were last week.

There has been some shuffling overnight (in which my main key term page has gone from page 2 to page 4).

Now it is really early and the reporting tools have yet to report as of this morning, including MozCast, SERPmetrics and Although, since this seems to have been updating early this morning, the tools may not show anything until tomorrow.

Google has confirmed a Panda refresh impacting 1.3% of queries!

Past Google Panda Update:

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.

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12/21/2012 01:54 pm

maybe google's algo just developed AI :)


12/21/2012 01:56 pm

*Rolls eyes*. It's Friday, I'll wait to troll and mock until after the Holiday's...

Martin Oxby

12/21/2012 02:15 pm

Maybe that's why they claimed there was no update, just an experiment or something so they could roll it back? Still not technically true that 'there was no update' as something clearly changed, but if it wasn't permanent then it's not a proper update... Would have just been simpler to say 'yes we tinkered with something' than to just deny it.

Daniel Sodkiewicz

12/21/2012 02:32 pm

It looks like. I see many strange changes in rankings of my sites recently. A week ago, my 'all and only white hat seo' website dropped more than 20 spots, today it is up 10 spots. Google makes me stressed, making your business relay on Google search results will give me a hard attack one day,


12/21/2012 02:57 pm

We were on the bottom of page 2 before the changes occurred, now we're lucky to be on page 12, or even show up at all! We have not recovered yet this entire week, we're struggling to figure out what is going on.


12/21/2012 03:14 pm

Last Thursday quite a few of our keywords were hit, EMD's did a straight jump above us. In the early hours of this morning they swapped again but all day we are having a constant fluctuation. There is definitely something happening and more than certain it's link related.

Colin Mills

12/21/2012 03:35 pm

I can also see changes in the results in


12/21/2012 04:21 pm

I'm thinking possibly Google Penguin - I've had one term plummet and looking at the anchor text into the page it's no real surprise.


12/21/2012 05:09 pm

I don't think it was Penguin but I do think it had an anchor element, looking into competitors and other search queries I'm seeing more and more exact match heavy profiles profiting at present which is a total contradiction to the Penguin update.

Justin Urich

12/21/2012 05:12 pm

I've noticed that a site of mine that was unfairly targeted by Penguin had seen a huge boost in the past 2 weeks, but it seems that it has reverted (1/2 way) back to old rankings - as of this morning.

Barry Schwartz

12/21/2012 07:02 pm

Update: Google confirmed they released a Panda refresh today. I've update my post above.


12/21/2012 07:22 pm

1,3% is a huge impact. Thanks Google for ruin our weekend and holidays, this just confirm how evil you have become.

Nicholas Duddy

12/21/2012 07:36 pm

That could mean the end of the world! :)

Jaimie Sirovich

12/21/2012 08:38 pm



12/21/2012 08:48 pm

Update just before the holidays seems like a crappy thing to do. I wonder what a few days difference meant to those who pushed the update really couldn't wait?


12/21/2012 10:05 pm

I guess it's now fact, Matt Cutts (along with Google) has no soul and certainly no holiday spirit.

David Sewell

12/21/2012 11:55 pm

Google's bat and Google's ball. The only way to survive is to identify the channels and sites most often used by your audience. Think without Google to protect your business.


12/22/2012 06:51 am

I am the last person to protect Google but I don't think that the article or comments are fair. I don't think that Google lied since I think that they were testing EMD update and not Panda. I also think that an update before the holidays is fair since there are many people who have been penalized that also deserve to have their sites show up in the SERPS before the holidays. Some sites may be penalized by Panda but others are also freed. Do they no deserve their chance too?


12/22/2012 09:39 am

OK well the channel most often used by my audience is Google! Impossible to think without Google.


12/22/2012 04:39 pm

Wouldn't mocking the "google is evil because I got caught cheating and my site sucks" whiners relieve some holiday stress?


12/22/2012 04:42 pm

Why should google have to let you know? They are constantly making adjustments. Should they announce it every time? Do you announce every change to your website?


12/22/2012 04:43 pm

What is evil about improving their product?


12/22/2012 04:48 pm

Check your site against Googles Webmaster Guidelines. If you dropped that much and nothing about your site changed recently, it is very likely that there is some violation of the guidelines. If you post your URL here someone may be able to help.


12/22/2012 04:50 pm

You're on the naughty list!


12/22/2012 05:35 pm

improving? what are you smoking? 8 results from same domain on 1 page on countless queries, is that improving?

Himanshu Dureja

12/22/2012 07:01 pm

This is the First ever Panda that effected my blog :(


12/22/2012 07:20 pm

I'm not surprised at Google's decision to unleash another Panda update on businesses 4 days before Christmas - I'm afraid it just typifies how heartless, nay spiteful they are now. Panda is just a mechanism to beat down sites that compete in Niches Google wants to make money from so perhaps Q4's figures weren't looking great?

Martin Oxby

12/22/2012 11:37 pm

I agree to some extent. But Google also expect you to play by their rules. If they change a law in your country you're expected to abide by it, so you should know the law. In the same manner we need to be aware of changes to Google's algorithm so we know what rules we need to play by.


12/23/2012 03:54 am

Just by briefly looking at Google's SERPs, it looks like the latest update promotes brands even more. I can tell because an article aggregator like Digg is outranking a source site. The source site has a natural link profile but no where as powerful as the aggregator. Prior to the update, the source was outranking the aggregator. Goes to show that Google can't get it right and they are throwing in the towel by simply promoting brands. How many of you need Google to help you find sites that everyone knows about?

Jaimie Sirovich

12/23/2012 06:35 am

Hard attack? Do I want to know what you're surfin'? :)

Website Sales Lab

12/23/2012 08:04 am

If they are the best... then yes


12/23/2012 09:45 am

how stupid this panda and google! oh my god!


12/23/2012 09:49 am

You definitely aren't in business.


12/23/2012 09:50 am

The Panda #22 is repeated in the list. ;)


12/23/2012 04:25 pm

I myself have a bad experience. Two days back I searched for some event results for some specific date and I was unable to find it on first two pages. Is that improving.? - It was ranking on first page.. lmao. I never used Bing before but I have to try Bing for some queries. Though bing doesn't always provide correct results for my those queries.. - one of the popular website why it's not ranking on top anymore? And Winston will you please tell me why this website's articles are ranking on top even articles belong to other websites. It is just acting as mediator. The whole motive was to remove these type of scraper websites. NEVER EXPECTED THIS FROM GOOGLE.

Mike Nielsen

12/24/2012 04:41 am

Panda Hit my Website


12/24/2012 04:56 am

You know when providing internet marketing services, you have to understand Google's intent. Yeah, it ticks people like us off because it changes variables. However, it isn't Google's desire to make internet marketing tougher. They have to maintain quality. With all the black hat scheming out there they have to do these updates so users will continue to use Google. Otherwise, as we have seen in the past, the search results start to lack credibility for the search phrase. Seriously, quit complaining and just do a good job.


12/24/2012 05:16 am

I don't understand what Google want to show with these frequent updates, does he want to show that it is a tyrant who can do whatever he wish or he has real intention to improve search quality. His recent update present a different scene before us ..................

Ramesh Nair

12/24/2012 06:03 am

Seems like one will have to wait till the holidays are over to see the real impact on visitor count...


12/24/2012 06:48 am

Friends... Don't worry.. have smile :) its holiday time. Why you always thinks about Panda, Penguin..labalalla ... Just wait and watch... If Google is doing unethical updates.... Users will punish it...

Rahul Mishra

12/24/2012 06:52 am are right. Its time to enjoy... :)

Sunny Kumar Ujjawal

12/24/2012 10:06 am

In 2014 we will celebrate Panda 100


12/24/2012 10:21 am

Is sneaking in an anchor text link in a blog comment doing a good job? Looks like a spanking could be coming your way.


12/24/2012 10:46 am

Think this is bad, check out the volatility of the travel insurance market in the UK. Post Office are all over page 1 with sometimes two results since the update, jumping ten places for the biggest term, and now are the only brand being automatically generated in search queries, why are they so special?

Kaloyan Banev

12/24/2012 01:17 pm

At the end of the day it doesn't matter for serious marketers as both Panda and Penguin target low quality websites and web spam.

George McCasland

12/24/2012 09:17 pm

I have 62 articles on Squidoo addressing the rights of fathers and how to work from within the current family court system. The most vital of these articles was enforcing court ordered access rights, which peaks during the holiday season as nearly 60% of non-residential parents, who were suppose to have their children tomorrow, are denied access. The hits to the article, which was running a few thousand a day from Google alone, dropped to zero after the update on November 17th. As such, I am now working on an eManual version.

Website Sales Lab

12/25/2012 10:54 am

Yeah wolf. Whats business?.. note my sarcasm..

Katherine Ferris

12/26/2012 01:27 am

The latest Google update badly affected my hypnotherapy services website It was appearing well in searches in recent times, now it has dropped considerably. I am not aware of having done anything that may be in violation of the Google guidelines. Can anyone give me any idea as to what may have been the reason behind it?


12/26/2012 05:21 am

one step advance - update regular website


12/26/2012 10:29 am

Your /hypnotherapy page has 123 mentions of 'hypno' and that's without other related keywords such as cllinical, depression, substance abuse. This is exactly what Panda does to sites with bad content.


12/27/2012 09:56 am

hey don't get upset.. Its fine..Its always been like this.. we can do nothing but track Google..


12/27/2012 11:12 am

I'm sorry I didn't know that was a problem when I am actually providing actual discourse. I still stand by everything I said. I'm not trying to be sneaky or anything. It's highlighted in blue; it's not really secretive. I tell my clients everything I am saying here. I was only trying to create a relative link. Please, if you have some advice, I'd love to receive it. I could buy links but i'm trying to keep everything organic. Just as I tell my clients to make organic content on their sites. Obviously, there are many different factors in SEO. Linking is still valid if it's relevant. Am I wrong?


12/27/2012 02:00 pm

Don't some webmasters win in this update as well? Why are they considered heartless? Thx for clarification.

Katherine Ferris

12/27/2012 03:11 pm

Thank you for taking the time to have a look. Do you have any other suggestions that may be of help to correct the problem?


12/27/2012 05:58 pm

I agree with some earlier posts that if Google wants to be "relevant" and wants everyone to use their product, then they need to lay down the rules of how to best utilize their product. We web developers should NEVER have to "guess" as to how their product works. Do you know of ANY other product where you have to GUESS how it works???? If you do, then you probably threw it out because you couldnt figure out how to use it and you deemed it useless. And to answer someone else's question about whether or not we let everyone know about every change to our website...we dont let everyone know because only certain consumers are affected by our website changes, whereas Google updates affect a much larger audience, most importantly the business audience, so that question was basically comparing apples to oranges. In my opinion, if Google is all about "quality", then they need to have a quality product and start letting everyone know how to use it.


12/28/2012 03:08 am

My site that ranked 4th for it's keyword dropped to 670th.


12/28/2012 11:07 am

Right neha


12/28/2012 11:37 am

Why does Google do so? Google has no work now so it makes updates in free time and publishes. Google is not search engine but it is just updates publisher.


12/28/2012 12:30 pm

Like everybody else I expect, I'm really fed up with trying to fathom google. But, it's not just from a work point of view, it's also from a users. I'm sick to death of the stuff that comes up for my search terms when looking for stuff. Bad sites, totally irrelevant, quite a bit of squidoo, too many USA sites even though I have specifically requested UK. I've reverted to yahoo & bing for my searching, perhaps others will follow suit which could be the best way to message google. Ahhhhhhhhh!

Kelly Watt

01/01/2013 12:04 am

My sites have not moved since this last update. Has anyone noticed a difference for Canadian sites?

Zack Williamson

01/05/2013 04:32 pm

Can anyone give any details regarding this update? It seemed like it hit the same day they started censoring Google Images. What was this update all about and how were sites affected?


01/06/2013 06:48 pm

I think vilifying Google is a really terrible waste of our energy. Our site was hit by the update in mid-December, though I thought I saw signs of it as early as the 10th, and we picked up most of what we lost on the 21st. Google is not an omnipotent entity and apparently the human beings that work there are starting to act human (i.e. making mistakes and covering them up) and not robotic. What's interesting is that, as Barry points out, last year they promised not to touch the algorithms during the holidays. This is sound (and standard) ecommerce practice. We lock down our codebases before Thanksgiving to ensure we don't make any costly mistakes during the most important time of the year. Why wouldn't Google employ this "best-practice," too? What do they gain by shifting results around during the holidays? I just wish they'd own up to it.

health insurance

01/10/2013 03:53 pm

Great news. I think that an update before the holidays is fair since there are many people who have been penalized that also deserve to have their sites show up in the SERPS before the holidays.

Jimmy Grant

01/13/2013 11:24 pm

Hi All - I think the December update killed my site taking 90% of my traffic in one foul swoop ouch I also moved my data from a cloud server to a CDN at the same time not sure if it was just Google could some kind soul take a look at my site and give me advice or tell me where to look if my site is in violation


01/16/2013 04:45 am

All I've seen are more brand name sites and sites tha COMPLETELY go against everything they say to do out ranking my site. I have held at position 2 for the past 4 years and now I'm lucky to be on the first page.

Fahad Siddiqui

01/18/2013 09:49 am

Yes Kelly, a huge difference and shuffle going on from last 4 days! Lets see...

Fahad Siddiqui

01/18/2013 09:50 am

Wooooooooops! Sorry to hear that! All the best


01/23/2013 04:25 am

Barry Can you please explain which ways can improve the performance of a website means after this update how can we improvise our web?

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