Google has pushed out a Google Panda refresh recently. While it has not been noticed by many this new roll out has been happening rather slowly which is probably why it has slipped past many. It will in fact take several months before it completely rolls out.
While the algorithm for the new Panda update is site wide, some of the changes will not be seen in the Web Pages. Hence why there is a slow roll out.
Panda 4.1 which was refreshed sometime in September last year, almost ten months ago was probably the 28th update and this new Panda refresh is either the 29th or 30th update. It was refreshed after fluctuations were noticed last year around October barely a month after the refresh of the Panda 4.1
To the best of my knowledge not a lot of web techs have noticed a Google update since it was refreshed and that is the point behind rolling it out very slowly. The SEOs have also not reported seeing any changes either but as Panda refreshes in the past have had varied wildly in impact, all we can do is wait.
As per Google, the refresh has affected less than 5% of English Language queries. The approximate percentage being 2%-3%, which is lower than the previous percentage of 3%-5% in the September 2014 version while in the May 2014 version it affected 7.5% of the search queries made.
So what does this mean for users?
For those who were penalized by the last Panda update, the roll out means that they have an opportunity to emerge provided the appropriate adjustments were made. So for those hit by Panda, the impact should be gradual and the difference would be noted in the organic rankings over time. Basically this means that there is a new chance for some and a new penalty for others.
It is important to note that the search queries that have been affected saw the loss of pages in the search results from the stated new refresh but also includes pages that made a return to those search results as well.
In the past, the Panda Updates were rolled out differently. Typically there was a significant decline or increase in your Google traffic much faster. While the technicality of this Panda is that it is a refresh not an update, this refresh means that it will be reapplying the same signals from the previous Panda update.
Once the update begins, no more changes can be made to it that would have any effect during the roll out period and as noticed in previous updates. The updates often have a cut-off date that ensures that any changes made after that date would only be applicable in the next update.
For people that had been affected by Panda and had not yet made changes to increase quality they would have to wait till the next. This also applies to the people who also got negatively impacted, they would have to wait until the next update.
While Google is not clear on what coming months means, long roll outs are not a new to Google as has been viewed in previous times. We are also familiar with Google’s previous test runs on algorithm changes whether for a few hours or in a specific country and even in small data centers before rolling it back. In regard to the recent fluctuations, there is speculation that they were due to Phantom/Quality while they may have in fact been as a result of a dry run for the Panda release.