There might be little evidence of an update, but Google Panda 4.2 has already begun with its serialised roll-out. Over the last few years, Google has become more secretive about its updates, most recently leaving experts pulling at strings. Compared to numerous updates that have been released in the past, there has been subdued hype surrounding the latest roll-out. Could this be due to the fact that Google has opted to release the update over a long period of time, or simply because SEO experts have yet to notice a significant change in rankings? Until the roll-out is complete, we can only guess the total percentage of websites that will be affected. Until then, here is what you need to know about Google Panda 4.2:
Successor to ‘Mobilegeddon’ and the Phantom Update
With a ten-month gap between the release of Panda 4.1 and 4.2, there have been faint whispers speculating Google’s stagnancy. However, the gap saw the subtle release of both ‘Mobilegeddon’ and the Phantom Update – assessing mobile capability and quality, respectively. Sites which saw a drop in rankings were either not optimised for mobile use or did not feature what Google considers ‘quality’ content. Panda 4.2 has been released in quick succession to these two minor updates which, we assume, will pick up on anything that could have been missed. Both ‘Mobilegeddon’ and the Phantom Update prove that the emphasis lies on quality, mobile-friendly content.
First implemented on the 18th July, Panda 4.2 is expected to rollout over a period of months. With a distinct increase in roll-out times, and the release period between updates, Panda 4.2 is simply following the trend. However, there is no set date on which we can expect the roll-out to complete. Sites that were previously hit by Panda 4.1 have had ten months in which to improve – this means that the complete roll-out of 4.2 cannot come fast enough. Unfortunately, if we consider the recent trend, it might be a long wait before sites are able to repair the damage sustained from 4.2. Despite the confusion, Google confirms that the reason for the serialised roll-out is technical. Due to a shift in infrastructure, Google aims to incorporate the continuous changing and gradual rolling out of Panda into their core ranking algorithms, and this is the first step towards achieving their goal.
What Damage Can We Expect?
It is estimated that Panda 4.2 will affect 2 – 3% of sites which, compared to previous updates, seems minimal. However, it parallels an approximate 36 million searches and will most likely punish sites which lack quality content.
Ultimately, Google Panda 4.2 reiterates the importance of mobile-optimised sites that boast epic content, and also provides the answer to the question on how SEO experts and 'Marketing Gurus' should react. The creation of strong, quality content should remain the focus. For those who experience a drop in their rankings, they simply need to implement superior content and wait for the next update.
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