Through an unexpected source, namely Twitter, Google has officially announced the release of the latest update to its ranking algorithm, Panda 3.4.
This update, which rolled out on March 24, is targeting low-quality websites. The update was specifically a “refresh”, so it seems no new signals or algorithm changes were made. This has resulted in very little impact to the majority of websites.
Google confirmed via Twitter:
Panda refresh rolling out now. Only ~1.6% of queries noticeably affected.
While the 1.6% of websites that were hit will notice quite an impact, this is a very small effect to the overall traffic worldwide.
Before Panda 3.4, the previous update 3.3 was released at the end of February and this is the one that webmaster had been dreading as its impact was quite widespread.
While all these updates are good for search overall, many webmasters are unhappy with their frequency. In the past year there have been 14 known updates to the Google algorithm and after each update, webmasters and SEO professionals are forced to scramble to salvage their website’s ranking in order to win back the traffic they lost.
Here is a timeline of all the updates in the last 12 months:
- Panda 3.4 on March 23rd
- Panda 3.3 on about February 26th
- Panda 3.2 on about January 15th
- Panda 3.1 on November 18th
- Panda 2.5.3 on October 19/20th
- Panda 2.5.2 on October 13th
- Panda 2.5.1 on October 9th
- Panda 2.5 on September 28th
- Panda 2.4 in August
- Panda 2.3 on around July 22nd
- Panda 2.2 on June 18th or so
- Panda 2.1 on May 9th or so
- Panda 2.0 on April 11th or so
- Panda 1.0 on February 24th
Not a lot is know about the impact of Panda 3.4 yet, we’ve not heard much from the usually very vocal SEO/webmaster community, but we have to assume that no news is good news.
Has your traffic or ranking taken a dip since March 24? If so, we would love to hear your experience. Feel free to leave your thoughts below.