Yesterday, Google has made a significant change to their Panda filter, named Panda 4.0. This is the biggest update to the Panda algorithm in ages and may be the cause of some ranking changes you may be noticing in Google today and throughout the week.
Google’s head of search spam, Matt Cutts announced on Twitter that the update Panda filter began rolling out yesterday. Here is Matt’s tweet:
Google is rolling out our Panda 4.0 update starting today.
— Matt Cutts (@mattcutts) May 20, 2014
Google told us “Panda 4.0 affects different languages to different degrees.” Adding that “in English for example, the impact is ~7.5% of queries that are affected to a degree that a regular user might notice.”
That means this update is the largest Panda update since Panda 6 on Aug. 12, 2011, which impacted the international space by 6-9%. But this is indeed the largest update of Panda for English queries since Panda launched on February 24, 2011, where it had a 11.8% impact on queries.
Why such a large change? From talking to Google, it sounds like this update will be gentler for some sites, and lay the groundwork for future changes in that direction. So it seems like Google has made some major and fundamental changes to the Panda algorithm.
For more details, see our story on Search Engine Land.
Postscript: We have now published the big Winners & Losers from this update at Search Engine Land.