Google: Panda Update Coming in a Few Weeks

Last night, Barry Schwartz reported that Google’s Gary Illyes shared an interesting tidbit of information with SMX attendees. According to Illyes, the next Panda update is said to roll out within the next two to four weeks.

Barry pointed out that Illyes referred to the update several times as a “data refresh” – not an algorithm change. This means that Google won’t be adding any new signals to the current Panda algorithm. Instead, Google will refresh their index to give those that were previously penalized by Panda the chance to recover.

Wait, I thought Panda and Penguin updated automatically?

There’s been some confusion as to whether Google updates their Panda and Penguin algorithms automatically or manually. According to Google’s John Mueller, the Panda and Penguin updates are “built-in [to] the [real-time] infrastructure, but the data has to be updated separately.”

This means that anyone who is penalized by Panda or Penguin must wait until the next “data refresh” to see any improvement. Being that major updates usually occur months apart from one another, it can be a while before businesses and site owners see their clean-up efforts pay off.

Does Google plan to eventually make these updates automatic?

At the moment, no. Illyes explained at SMX Advanced that although it’s in Google’s best interest to keep their data as fresh as possible, these updates require manual action and they don’t have any current plans to make these updates automatic any time soon.

If you want to stay on top of the latest algorithm updates, you can create some Google Alerts to notify you when new changes roll out. Search Engine Land and Search Engine Roundtable are both very good about reporting on the latest updates, so bookmark those for any Google-related news.

What does this mean if I was already hit by a Panda penalty?

Hopefully you’ve already done your due diligence to remove and/or build out thin content pages and duplicate content. If you suspect that you’ve been hit by Panda and you’ve taken steps to improve your site, you’ll hopefully see your ranking bounce back to where they were before you were penalized. If you don’t notice any improvement. Consider other pages that may need to be cleaned up, and also other known causes for algorithmic penalties, such as link spam and doorway pages.

Be sure to follow us on Twitter for the latest Google updates. If you have any additional information on Gary Illyes’ recent SMX announcement, feel free to drop us a note in the comments below.

Image by Flickr User George Lu

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