The first real SEO news of 2016 is that Google’s Panda algorithm has now become part of Google’s core ranking signals, rather than the previous Panda updates rolling out by itself.
The Google Panda algorithm updates previously affected websites based upon quality of content, and this will now be a factor in regular core algorithm updates from Google.
What is the Panda Update about?
Panda updates have been all about fighting spam and low-quality websites, and initially began in February 2011. Panda affects the ranking of sections or the entire site, rather than particular pages, and so it’s become a notable update to watch out for. But that’s all set to change.
The last Panda update launched back in July 2015, which rolled out slowly over a period of months. The Panda update aimed to flush out low-quality sites from the top of the search results, or other sites which were thin on quality content.
Websites which produced quality content or were rich with information tended to do well when the Panda algorithm rolled out.
Even back in July 2015, it was rumoured that Google was to be made part of a daily update, which promised websites wouldn’t see fluctuating rankings when the latest Panda algorithm update was pushed out. It took some time, but now it seems those rumours came true.
Why Panda is now part of core ranking signals
As the last Panda update rolled out very slowly, compared to previous updates rolling out around once a month, many people speculated it would be integrated into the main algorithm.
On the 8th of January 2016, many people noticed that there were a number of ranking changes – but it didn’t seem to be the likely suspects, either Panda or Penguin updates. Google denied it was either, and was simply a “core update”.
With this core update, many noticed a number of Panda-related shuffles, but it didn’t seem all that simple. Therefore, many people
It has been confirmed with an official statement from Google saying:
Panda is an algorithm that’s applied to sites overall and has become one of our core ranking signals. It measures the quality of a site, which you can read more about in our guidelines. Panda allows Google to take quality into account and adjust ranking accordingly
What does this mean for SEO?
As for the future, this means there will be no more Panda updates similar to those in the past, as it is now part of the core algorithm that Google continuously works on. This means that websites won’t tend to see huge fluctuations in rankings down to Panda-related reasons, but it will instead be incorporated into the core updates.
If your website boasts high-quality content or pages which are informative or useful to those who land on your website, then you’re doing the right thing.
Whilst you may have experienced a move in rankings throughout January, then it is most likely related to the core algorithm update – which encompasses Panda alongside a number of other core algorithm elements. Whether Panda is running in actual real-time is yet to be seen, but we are sure to find out more as time passes.