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Q3 Google Panda Update

Google has some big ideas, and Panda is just one of them.

Did Q3 signal the end of Google Panda’s ability to strike terror into the hearts of SEOs? With each passing month, and each Panda refresh, the number of search queries impacted by Google’s bad-content killer keeps getting smaller.

Here’s a roundup of what went on with the fearsome algorithm over the third quarter.

  • Early Summer Panda Double Dip – Back in late June and into early July Google rolled out Panda 3.8. It marked the second time Google updated Panda in June.
  • Panda 3.9 Update  – Towards the end of August Google rolled Panda 3.9.1 on an Internet that’s pretty much adjusted to the demands of high quality content. While the original Panda update impacted around 12% of search queries, this one impacted only 0.7% of them.
  • Panda 3.9.1 Update – In July Panda 3.9 hit the web, like most Panda updates, it’s impacted limited to less than 1% of search queries.
  • Rumors Rule – Every actual Panda (and Penguin) update is usually proceeded by a flurry of rumors on SEO forums. Sometimes, the posters have actually stumbled on a Google update test run, that’s rolled out ahead of the actual update. At the same time, many of these folks drop in rankings when their competitors improve their sites.

Getting Past Panda

The original Panda update was Google’s answer to an exploding amount of low quality content that was gumming up search results. Panda 1 had a huge impact on certain industries, including gaming affiliates, and permanently changed the way SEOs though about content.

It’s become pretty over the last 18 months that Panda was just part of a much bigger plan by Google to get a better handle on the Web. After Panda handled low quality content, the Penguin update came along to handle low quality links.

Meanwhile, the company is steadily putting greater emphasis on social shares when determining page rankings.

Google is also putting a little more pressure on content creators by way of its, relatively, new Author Rank feature. (Author rank makes creators and their relative quality a factor in search rankings.)

In short, everything Google’s been doing for the past couple years is aimed at tapping into organic web signals that are tough for SEOs to manipulate.

So what’s the solution to Panda and Penguin? It all boils down to ground-level, white hat SEO based on high quality, easily sharable content.

Welcome to Google’s Web!

Do you still worry about Panda updates? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.