Panda 4.2 is Rolling Out Now

*UPDATE: Google confirmed that Panda 4.2 is being rolled out globally.

Earlier this year at SMX Advanced, Gary Illyes announced that the next Google Panda update would be released within two to four weeks.  Although it took a little bit longer than expected, it appears that Google has in fact started to roll out Panda 4.2.

What’s interesting about this particular update is that most webmasters and SEOs didn’t even notice. When Barry Schwartz first made the announcement yesterday, many SEOs were in disbelief. This morning Barry confirmed with Google on Twitter that Panda began rolling out this past weekend. You can see their twitter conversation below:

Google indicated that this update should impact approximately 2-3 percent of English search queries, so chances are we’ll start hearing about new penalties and recoveries in the coming weeks. The reason that this update initially slipped beneath our radar is because it’s being rolled out very slowly. In fact, Google said that it could take “months” before the update is rolled out completely.

Past Panda updates rolled out fairly quickly, and site owners typically saw sharp increases or declines over a short period of time. Since the most recent Panda update was in September of last year, I would imagine that a large number of sites took the time to reassess their content marketing and SEO strategies in hopes of a speedy recovery. So there’s quite a bit of content for Google crawl and analyze. I also wouldn’t be surprised if Google added some quality signals to the Panda algorithm, which would also account for the sluggish roll-out.

Whether you’ve been hit by a Panda penalty in the past or not, I would recommend keeping an eye on your rankings over the next month or so. Barry Schwartz reported this morning that he noticed what appears to be a slight recovery for his site, which he believes was hit by Panda 4.1 last September. Regardless it’s still too early to tell. Remember that Panda is a site-wide algorithm, meaning that penalized pages could impact rankings for you entire site.

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