Google

15/01/2016 | 20:25 GMT+7

SEOs Confused, Puzzled After Google’s Mystery Update

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Yesterday, Google confirmed there was a core ranking algorithm update over the weekend. They also informed the industry that the Panda algorithm is part of the core ranking algorithm now. Both items we reported yesterday, but the Panda news was actually something that likely happened months ago, whereas the core ranking update was this weekend.

Reporting both the same day may have led to some to confusion in the industry. In addition, whenever Google shares more information about their algorithms with the community, it often leads to even more questions and confusion. I wanted to share some of the confusion within the industry and try to clarify what I can at this point and explain what I cannot clarify at this point.

The Weekend Update Did Not Refresh Panda Penalties

Since Google said the Panda algorithm is part of the core ranking algorithm, some would assume that the weekend core ranking update may have set new Panda scores, and thus may have "freed” some of the sites impacted negatively from the Panda algorithm. This is not the case.

Gary Illyes of Google said clearly on Twitter that it had nothing to do with the Panda signals. He said, "The recent ranking fluctuations you noticed have absolutely nothing to do with Panda or other animals.”

Google Panda Doesn’t Run In Real Time

Another item of confusion was if Panda is now real-time. It is not. Gary Illyes quickly responded to those saying it was real time that it was not.

Gary said "The real time Panda stuff is wrong.” He explained that Panda is not running immediately or in real time.

John Mueller of Google added in a video hangout, at 28 minutes in, that the Panda scores are still not run in real time or when the core algorithm refreshes. Panda scores still seem to have to be run on their own and at different intervals.

Panda Updates Should Be More Regular

All of that being said, Google’s John Mueller also added in that hangout, at the 30-minute mark, that he thinks this will result in the Panda updates happening "a little [bit] faster, a little bit more regular.”

He said:

[I] mean it’s something where we we we try to look at the quality of the website and understand which ones are higher quality, which ones in general are lower quality and take that into account when ranking the site. This is essentially just a way of kind of making those updates a little [bit] faster, a little bit more regular.

He added seconds later that he won’t promise this to be the case, but he suspects it will be the case.

What Does It Mean That Panda Is Part Of Core?

The big confusion is that we still are talking about some aspects of the Panda algorithm as potentially not being part of the core algorithm. What does it mean that it is part of the core algorithm? Does Panda run on its own? Does it run with the core ranking algorithm? Do parts of Panda run with the core algorithm, while other parts do not?

What Signals Ran In This Weekend’s Core Algorithm Update?

We know many people noticed a big update this weekend with Google. But we also know it is not related to Panda. What type of sites did it impact, then? Google typically doesn’t discuss the core ranking signals and updates. Was this one of those Phantom updates that we are all confused about? These core ranking updates will always be mysterious and hard for webmasters to understand because of that.

What’s The Difference, Now That Panda Is Part Of Core?

The biggest question I have is how it differs both in terms of ranking and to webmasters impacted by Panda. What is the difference to them, now that Panda is part of the core update? Google has not answered this question yet, but we sent them the question and hope to get an answer.

In summary, these are just some of the questions, confusion and discussions going on right now in the SEO/Webmaster industry after we learned of the core ranking algorithm update over the weekend and learning that Panda algorithm is part of the core ranking algorithm.

Trust me, this will all lead to even more questions, but hopefully, less confusion.


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