EVERGREEN, COLORADO – The Panda algorithm (named after Navneet Panda of Google) is an extremely significant part of Google’s overall ranking algorithm. The main goal of Google Panda updates is to provide users with a superior quality search experience and remove poor-quality content from the SERPs. Every year, Google updates its ranking algorithm 500-600 times. Panda updates are also among those. The first Panda algorithmic update was rolled out in February. Until now, Google has updated its Panda 19 times.
Here’s an overview of all the Panda algorithmic updates that Google has released so far.
#1. Panda 1.0 [February 24, 2011]
The purpose of this algorithmic update was to deal with (read penalize) sites that had shallow content. The update hit “content farms” (which included some of the most popular article submission sites) really badly, resulting in a huge loss of keyword rankings. About 12 percent of sites were affected.
#2. Panda 2.0 [April 11, 2011]
This Google update was specific to all English language search results. Later, it was released on a global level. The update impacted around 2 percent of all keyword searches in the United States.
#3. Panda 2.1 [May 10, 2011]
Being a minor one actually, this search update impacted far fewer sites, as compared to the previous updates. Google didn’t reveal the impact data on this algorithmic update.
#4. Panda 2.2 [June 16, 2011]
According to Google, this update aimed at penalizing scraper or duplicate content sites. After this update was launched, many webmasters witnessed an improvement in their keyword rankings while others faced sudden drops.
#5. Panda 2.3 [July 23, 2011]
This update was rolled out by Google to distinguish between high quality and poor quality sites. As a result of this update, many sites gained in terms of search rankings on Google.
#6. Panda 2.4 [August 12, 2011]
This update was actually an international one. It was at this time that Google Panda update was released for all international languages with exceptions including Chinese, Japanese and Korean. The update impacted around 6-9 percent of queries for non-English indices.
#7. Panda 2.5 [September 18, 2011]
This was a mysterious one, as Google didn’t reveal as to what this specific Panda update was aimed at. All Google said is that the update was one of the 500 changes that Google rolls out each year. The algorithmic update resulted in huge loss of rankings for many sites.
#8. Panda 2.5.1 [October 9, 2011]
According to Matt Cutts, this update was only Panda-related flux. Therefore, it was a minor update that impacted less than 2 percent of all queries.
#9. Panda 2.5.2 [October 13, 2011]
It was again a minor update to the Panda 2.5 update of September 18, 2011. There were reports of losses and recoveries after Google rolled out this algorithmic update.
#10. Panda 3.0 [October 19, 2011]
Popularly referred to as the “Unnoticed Update,” it was actually a rectification update. Sites that were mistakenly or wrongly hit by the previous Panda algorithmic updates were given back their rankings.
#11. Panda 3.1 [November 18, 2011]
According to Google, it was a minor update. Google officials tweeted that it was only a minor data refresh and impacted less than 1 percent of queries.
#12. Panda 3.2 [January 18, 2012]
A data refresh again! Google officials explained that this was also a minor update similar to the last one, i.e. Panda 3.1. The update was actually meant to address the discrepancies (cross-language refinements, related search relevance, image search improvement) with the last updates.
#13. Panda 3.3 [February 27, 2012]
The confirmation of this Google Panda update came along with the announcement of 40 search updates that happened in February. The goal of this update was to bring more accuracy and sensitivity to the Panda algorithm. With this update, the age-old link analysis method was turned off by Google. In addition, local search results were improved.
#14. Panda 3.4 [March 23, 2012]
With this update, low-quality websites were once again massively targeted by Google. According to Google’s official tweet, this algorithmic update impacted around 1.6 percent of queries. Though it was basically a minor update, it was around this time that blog networks (like SEO Link Vine and Build My Rank) were hit. Webmasters who were using such blog networks to accumulate backlinks were faced with sudden drop in their site’s search rankings.
#15. Panda 3.5 [April 19, 2012]
Low quality content was on Google’s radar once again. Due to this algorithmic update, a lot of sites lost as well as many gained in terms of search rankings on Google. Examples of sites that increased their search visibility include spotify.com, observer.com, menshealth.com, slideshare.net, technspot.com and usnews.com. Losers included cubestat.com, similarsites.com, merchantcircle.com, newsalloy.com, aboutus.org, appbrain.com and ticketscity.com among others. [Find the complete list here.]
#16. Panda 3.6 [April 27, 2012]
It was launched just eight days after the last update, so it was unexpected. Google said this was a minor data refresh and didn’t impact queries (or sites) on a large scale. Reports about loss in rankings were noted.
#17. Panda 3.7 [June 8, 2012]
Basically a data refresh, this algorithmic update impacted less than 1 percent of queries in the United States and 1 percent globally.
#18. Panda 3.8 [June 25, 2012]
Google tweeted that it was also a basic refresh update, which means they only re-ran the Panda algorithm again. The refresh resulted in an impact of only 1 percent of queries worldwide.
#19. Panda 3.9 [July 24, 2012]
It was a new data refresh. So, there were no massive changes in algorithmic signals. Google revealed in a Twitter post that this algorithmic update would affect only 1 percent of all searches globally.
Have you heard any rumors about the next Google Panda update? Please let us know in the comment section below.