It’s official. After weeks of false starts and rumors, Google has unleashed the Panda 3.9 refresh. The announcement came last night on Google’s official Twitter feed with a Tweet that’s pretty standard for these affairs:

New data refresh of Panda starts rolling out tonight. ~1% of search results change enough to notice. More context:

While any Panda refresh is definitely big news, it’s obvious that most of the damage from Google’s most significant update ever has already been done. (That said, 1% of a billion or so daily searches is still a pretty big number.)

The first Panda incarnation 17 months ago impacted nearly 12% of all searches and radically changed the SEO business. Since then, content farms and scrapers have been struggling to compete in a marketplace where quality content is taking precedent over mass produced, keyword-stuffed articles.

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Who is Feeling the Effects?

The truth is, at this point, there probably aren’t all that many sites left that will really be feeling the impact of this update. Anyone who didn’t deal with the the early incarnations of the update are probably already out of business or have adjusted their SEO practices accordingly.

Anyone looking for evidence of this phenomenon can just take a look at the lack of collective freaking out on SEO forums. These days, folks are saving that type of panic for the prospect of a Penguin update/refresh.

Released last May, the Penguin update significantly impacted page rankings for sites that relied on paid link exchanges and other link practices Google deemed, inorganic.

What It All Means

All this Panda and Penguin updating means that Google is plenty serious about cleaning up the Web. They’re looking for quality content and natural shares (especially social shares). In doing so, they’ve re-written the SEO manual and frustrated plenty of folks who were used to doing things the old way.

There’s no word on when the next Panda update is due, but you can bet that there will be more coming down the line.

Are you feeling the effects of Panda 3.9? Share your thoughts and experiences on our SEO Forum.

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