When Panda first made an appearance on the scene, there was a large outpouring in regards to how search engine optimisation strategies would be affected. Up until now, its updates have also been easy to track, allowing for reactive action to be taken quite quickly.
However, the search engine’s spam guru Matt Cutts this week announced that the algorithm is to become far more closely aligned with its other offerings. Speaking at SMX West in San Jose, Google’s head of search spam said all updates would now be managed in real-time, as opposed to having dedicated release dates.
“You are more likely in the future to see Panda deployed gradually as we rebuild the index.”
For webmasters and those working in SEO, the changes will be nothing more that other algorithm updates offer. However, many will feel losing the ability to track and trace the changes and closely monitor the effects will be a significant loss.
It will certainly result in a lot of commentators having more time on their hands, obsessed as they were with monitoring Panda and the affects it had in the minutest of detail. To date, there have been 24 Panda updates, with the first being the true groundshaker.
When released in February 2011, it was expected to affect nearly 12% of queries. Since then, other releases have rarely affected more than 2% of queries, with most considerably less.
It is unlikely that the first auto update will change this trend. However, some think that it is already upon us, with the latest refresh thought to have taken place the weekend of March 15th – 16th.