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PENGUIN & PANDA
A GUIDE TO GOOGLE UPDATES
WHAT DO THEY TARGET?
Unnatural inbound links
High number of site-wide inbound links
Aggressive internal linking
LOW QUALITY LINKS
Excessive links from low quality sites
Low quality directory listing and article marketing
Over use of exact match anchor text
Keyword stuffing in content
Low anchor text diversity
High ad-to-content ratio
LOW QUALITY CONTENT
Poor user experience
High bounce rates
GOOGLE UPDATE TIMELINE
MAY DAY 2010
Large scale drops in long-tail traffic occurred in May 2010. Google confirmed an algorithm update targeting thin content, foreshadowing the Panda updates of 2011.
PANDA 1.0 24TH FEBRUARY 2011
Penguin update rolls out targeting content farms, thin content and ad heavy sites.
12% of queries impacted
11TH APRIC 2011 PANDA 2.0
Update rolled out Panda to all English queries worldwide.
2% of queries impacted.
PANDA 2.1 9TH MAY 2011
Minor tweaks to Panda 2.0. Google doesn't reveal impact data.
21ST JUNE 2011 PANDA 2.2
Unlike Panda 2.1, this update was officially acknowledged by Google.
PANDA 2.3 23RD JULY 2011
New signals introduced to differentiate between higher and lower quality sites.
12TH AUGUST 2011 PANDA 2.4
Panda goes international as it is rolled out both for English-language queries globally and non-English queries except for Chinese, Japanese, and Korean.
6-9% of queries impacted in affected countries
PANDA 2.5 28TH SEPTEMBER 2011
No data released by Google, but some sites report huge losses.
5TH OCTOBER 2011 PANDA "FLUX"
Matt Cutts reports: "expect some Panda-related flux in the next few weeks"
2% of queries impacted
QUERY ENCRYPTION 18TH OCTOBER 2011
Google announces it will now hide organic search referral data from users logged into Google. Keywords attributed as "not provided" in Google Analytics.
3RD NOVEMBER 2011 FRESHNESS UPDATE
Large scale update to reward freshness. Update focused mainly on time-sensitive results.
35% of queries impacted
PANDA 3.1 18TH NOVEMBER 2011
Panda 3.0 went unannounced but was though to rectify sites unfairly hit by previous updates. 3.1 was a minor update.
<1% of queries impacted
18TH JANUARY 2012 PANDA 3.2
Data refresh confirmed by Google. Some sites reported that they had recovered rankings to pre-Panda levels.
TOP HEAVY UPDATE 19TH JANUARY 2012
Google updates their page lay-out algorithms devaluing sites with a large number of ads above the fold.
27TH FEBRUARY 2012 VENICE
Google makes reference to an update named "Venice" which sees local results integrated more regularly into search results.
Much like Panda 3.2, this was another data refresh.
23RD MARCH 2012 PANDA 3.4
Latest update announced by Google via Twitter.
1.6% of queries impacted
PANDA 3.5 19TH APRIL 2012
Anther routine update that appeared to have minimal impact.
24TH APRIL 2012 PENGUIN 1.0
Penguin update rolls out targeting web spam to decrease rankings of sites in breach of Google's Webmaster Guidelines.
3.1% of search queries in English impacted
PANDA 3.6 27TH APRIL 2012
Another minor update with a small impact on queries.
25TH MAY 2012 PENGUIN 1.1
First Penguin algorithm data refresh. A much smaller number of queries affected than the initial roll out.
<0.1% of search queries impacted
PANDA 3.7 8TH JUNE 2012
A larger Panda update than 3.5 & 3.6.
1% of search queries impacted
25TH JUNE 2012 PANDA 3.8
Another data refresh is rolled out but there are no apparent algorithm changes.
LINK WARNINGS 19TH JULY 2012
Google sends out unnatural link warnings via Google Webmaster Tools.
24TH JULY 2012 PANDA 3.9
Results fluctuated for 5-6 days before stabilising as Google rolled out the latest Panda update.
1% of search queries impacted