The early months of October have been rife with speculation about when Google might roll out its next update and what exactly that update might be. There was talk of a Penguin refresh; a much anticipated (and some believe overdue) update to Google’s most brutal algorithm. The community was also full of whispers of a rollout of Panda 4.1.
Google’s very own Gary Illyes stated at Search Marketing Expo East in late September that Google was working on releasing a substantial update to the Penguin algorithm. Illyes went on to say that the update aims to make both webmasters and the end user happy, citing this as the reason that an update has taken so long to come to the forefront.
Similarly, the harshness of Penguin was defended; it is clear that Google wants its punishments to be a real deterrent from the behaviours and practices it disagrees with as opposed to just a slap on the wrist. When Illyes announced the algorithm rewrite, he suggested that it could have been rolled out as early as the first week of October.
However, it was then announced by Google that Panda 4.1 had in fact been involved in a very slow rollout since September 25th.
The SEO community has since seen changes in its organic traffic results as the update tries to further discern between higher and lower quality content; as well as distinguishing differences between ‘quality’ and ‘useful’.
Who will be affected?
As a result of this, the websites of SMEs – who likely have smaller sites but vast amounts of quality content – can expect to see increases in search visibility if their sites have been optimised correctly.
As Panda tries to ‘reward’ those sites with better content, there’s a chance that you could see an impact of it on your own search traffic.
Good or bad, any major changes in your traffic may well be a result of one of – or perhaps both of – these updates. The Penguin update in particular will supposedly make everyone’s lives a little bit better, and if you were hit by the update before could offer your site a chance to redeem itself.