The latest Google Panda refresh was announced on July 22, according to Search Engine Land, although the algorithm update reportedly began the weekend prior and is continuing to roll out slowly.
It’s been nearly 10 months since the last confirmed Panda update, which happened in September 2014, although SEM experts believe that there was a minor refresh in October 2014 after Search Engine Land saw “small fluctuations.”
As with other Panda updates, Panda 4.2 is geared toward ensuring the quality of websites that have top rankings. Considering that an estimated 75% of internet users will not click past the first page of search engine results, the difference between a first page ranking and a second page ranking can be significant for businesses
Google is notoriously secretive about these updates, and typically does not announce prior to the updates that they will occur — if the updates are confirmed at all. Gary Illyes of Google announced in June that a Panda update would happen soon, according to The SEM Post, but the exact date was not announced.
“As you know,” a Google spokesperson said regarding Panda 4.2, “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.”
Google did confirm that Panda 4.2 is affecting 2-3% of English-language search queries, which is lower than the September 2014 refresh, which affected 3-5% of English language queries.
Because the update is being rolled out slowly, Business 2 Community reported that it could take a while for individual organizations to notice whether or not their website has been affected by Panda 4.2.
As with most Google algorithm updates, it’s possible for businesses to see their rankings drop significantly, but experts are also predicting that another Panda refresh will roll out in four to six weeks, giving anyone affected by the latest update a chance to ameliorate the damage.