As 2011 comes to an end, I thought I would do recap on probably the biggest series of events in the SEO world to happen in 2011; the Panda updates. The shear scope of Panda pretty much guaranteed that everyone operating a web site felt it’s effects, probably in a negative way. It also resulted in the worst words ever; Pandified and Pandification.
Google’s algo is real-time and is constantly making calculations based on it’s link graph of the web. This includes the hallowed PageRank as well as the other hundreds of other factors that determine day-to-day standings on the results pages.
Panda is a separate algo that operates independent of the main algo and is specifically designed to filter specific types of sites from the search results. Unlike the main algo, Panda does not occur in real-time. Instead, it is manually pushed out, the results evaluated, and changes made before the next manual push.
February 24 – Panda 1.0
This was the one that started it all. Originally code-named “Farmer”. In one update, 12% of search results were effected. The primary targets of this update and the following updates were content farms, scraper sites, and any page that Google determined as low quality.
Biggest losers – wisegeek.com, ezinearticles.com, suite101.com, hubpages.com
Biggest Winners – Youtube, ebay.com, facebook.com, instructables.com
April 11 – Panda 2.0
Original update goes live to all English-speaking countries. Incorporated user data from Chrome extension and block button in search results. Widened the net to longer tail results.
May 10 – Panda 2.1
June 16 – Panda 2.2
Improved scraper detection. Matt Cutts states that there were no manual exceptions made for sites that may have been wrongly affected. Also states that Panda updates are manually pushed out and not occurring in real time.
July 23 – Panda 2.3
August 12 – Panda 2.4
Launched to all international sites. Impacts 6-9% of international queries.
September 28 – Panda 2.5
The longest gap in major Panda updates since 1.0.
October 3 – Panda Flux
October 13 – Panda Flux
November 18 – Panda Flux