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Google SEO and Panda Updates: July 2012

Google Panda updates and refreshes are the kind of thing that keep most affiliate partners up at night. After all, you never really know when, or how hard, they’re going to hit your sites.

By now, most webmasters have adjusted to the original Panda update (which gives them more time to focus on dealing with Penguin) but not everyone has. While the number of sites impacted seems to get smaller with every refresh, the cumulative impact has been substantial.

After refreshing Panda twice in June, Google kept things relatively quite in July with only one major Panda event, Panda 3.9.

  • Panda 3.9 rumors – As is normally the case, antsy SEO practitioners were posting rumors of the update well ahead of its actual arrival. Most of the rumors originated from one or two forums, but were enough to get folks pretty riled up. Some people believe Google does a small test run of a refresh before rolling it out completely and that may have accounted for the rumors. Google has never officially acknowledged this idea.
  • Welcome Panda 3.9 – Late on the night of July 24, Google rolled out Panda 3.9 with the customary Tweet from Matt Cutts. He said that 3.9 impacted less than 1% of all searches, which is big drop from the 12% of searches effected by the original Panda.

Panda By the Numbers

Now that Panda 3.9 is official, the SEO world can begin speculating about the next Panda update. More importantly, they can speculate about what to call the next Panda refresh.

As the folks at SEORoundtable pointed out recently calling the next refresh Panda 4 isn’t entirely accurate unless it’s an actual update rather than a refresh. Will it be Panda 3.91?

Getting Past Panda

It’s been over a year since the original Panda update and most webmasters seem to have adjusted well. Affiliate partners have, more or less, taken Google’s message about quality content to heart and that’s a good thing for everyone.

Now that everyone is comfortable in the post-Panda world it’s time to get cozy with the post-Penguin world. After that, who knows what’s coming down the line? Google Panther? Google Pterodactyl? It’s hard to say.

Were you impacted by the latest Panda update? Share your experiences on our SEO Forum.