Google has confirmed that it has already begun rolling out Panda 4.2, an update to its algorithm that factors website quality into its overall search rankings.
“This past weekend we began a Panda update that will roll out over the coming months,” a Google spokesperson said. “As you know, we’re always working to improve Google so search results are higher quality and more relevant for everyone and this is just one way we do that.”
This is the first update to the algorithm in 10 months.
Few webmasters have reported seeing changes in their rankings thus far, but that’s not a surprise given the slow pace of the rollout and the fact that the refresh is expected to affect only between 2-3% of search queries.
Opportunities for Small and Medium-Sized Sites
Updates such as these are big news in the fields of digital marketing and search engine optimization, which work to improve the rankings of certain sites on Google’s search engine results pages.
Most SEO now revolves around a concept called “content marketing,” which focuses on creating high-quality written, visual and video content in order to build a site’s popularity. A full 92% of marketers say content creation is either “somewhat” or “very” effective for SEO purposes.
In theory, Google’s algorithm should view this kind of quality content favorably, meaning sites can rank well even without being large or drawing a great deal of traffic; of course, numerous other factors also come into play in rankings. This provides opportunities for small and medium-sized businesses, in particular.
That said, even though the rollout of the refresh will take several months, it’s already too late for webmasters and marketers to make changes on their websites and see improvements this time around — and they’ll need to wait until the next refresh to recover if their sites have been negatively affected.