Google Preps Updates for Penguin and Panda; Remains Mum on Release
“I don’t expect us to tweet about or confirm current or future Panda updates because they’ll be incorporated into our indexing process and thus be more gradual.”
SEO professionals and Google officials could go back and forth for days about whether or not Panda and Penguin updates have been released, are just rumors, or are still in the works. The best way to get to the bottom of it is to look at a timeline of events from the past week that point to a planned future release of updates for both Panda and Penguin.
Initial Comments from Google
While sitting in one “The Search Police” panel at SMX West last week, Matt Cutts (Google’s head of search spam) announced that the company was in fact planning new updates for both the Penguin and Panda algorithms in 2013.
Cutts explained that a large update for the Penguin algorithm is planned for 2013 and classified it as one that could create the most buzz all year. Cutts did not elaborate on the update other than to call it “very significant.” Since its initial release in April 2012, Penguin has received two verifiable updates. The first, Penguin 2, came in May 2012 followed by Penguin 3 in October 2012.
Finally, Cutts announced that a Panda update is also set for release and targeted Friday 15 March or Monday 18 March as the release date. Again, there were no specifics from Cutts about the update. Whenever the latest Panda update hits, it would be Panda 25 and is the first update since Panda 24 arrived on 22 January.
Chatter in the Industry
When Friday 15 March hit, several notable SEO sites and blogs lit up with the news that Panda 25 had in fact been released. However, Google insists that Panda updates going forward are going to be more integrated and less noticeable to users as the process of rolling out Panda updates will be incorporated into Google’s indexing processes.
Given that Cutts had announced at SMX West that Google was planning an update for Panda, it would not be surprising that the update was released on Friday and set in over the weekend. Assuming this is true, it is the 25th update to the Panda algorithm since its initial release on 24 February 2011.
Lack of Clarity
Despite Cutts openly stating that Panda 25 was due out late last week or early this week, Google took a murkier stance of insisting that it would no longer announce or even confirm future updates to the Panda algorithm starting with this latest Panda 25 version. In the past, Google has issued Panda updates as a manual push that is noticed immediately in the industry and often confirmed by Google.
However, Google is seeking a more gradual system for rolling out Panda updates in the future and, as mentioned earlier, has no intention of tweeting or otherwise announcing upcoming changes to the Panda algorithm. This all stems from another announcement at SMX West from Cutts about Panda’s future.
Aside from his participation in The Search Police panel at SMX West, Cutts announced that Google would be integrated the Panda algorithm into the overall system of continuous algorithm updates that occur on a consistent basis. The following is a snippet from Cutts speaking on the topic at SMX West:
“Rather than having some huge changes that happens on a given day, you are more likely in the future to see Panda deployed gradually as we rebuild the index. So you are less likely to see these large scale sorts of changes.”
At this point, whether Panda 25 has or hasn’t been released is hard to say and Google isn’t rushing to shout the news from the rooftops. With that said, Panda 25 was announced (though not confirmed) and webmasters and SEOs should be turning their attention to the upcoming Penguin update. As Cutts stated, it is one that will have the industry talking all year.
Image credit: © lemur1489 - Fotolia.com