A 31st July Google hangout between John Mueller and webmasters brought the issue of Google’s new Panda 4.2 update to the fore. Panda 4.2 began rolling out over the course of the weekend of the 18th and 19th July, although it is more of a refresh than an actual update. The previous refresh, Panda 4.1, came in September 2014. Panda’s first release came in February 2011. The Panda algorithm changes have represented good news for those providing quality content, such as article writing services, given that Google’s objective is to boost the ranking of higher-quality sites.
During the 31st July hangout, Mueller, a Google Webmaster Trends Analyst based in Switzerland, was asked several questions about the Panda 4.2 update. One issue that arose was why Panda 4.2 appears to be running slower than typically would be the case.
Mueller said that the rollout will take months to complete, rather than days or weeks. He said that this delayed rollout is attributable to an “internal issue” and unspecified “technical reasons.” He was at pains to emphasise, however, that the rollout is not being carried out slowly to “confuse people” specifically.
Mueller added that Google is conducting the crawling and indexing of sites as normal and that it is drawing on the content it gathers to identify sites with both higher and lower quality. He said that the information being generated by Google is being rolled out in something of a slower way. It can be many months before a website begins to fully see an impact of the algorithm, whether that is in positive or negative terms.
Opinion is divided as to whether the slow pace of the rollout is a good or bad thing. There are those who believe it is a great way of preventing chaos on a mass scale in a short period of time, but there are others who express a dislike for the long wait. Certainly, Panda 4.2 seems to be proceeding much slower than previous rollouts.
From an SEO perspective, the slow rollout does have the disadvantage of making it somewhat difficult to gauge winners and losers or identify patterns in respect of those making a recovery from penalties for low-quality content.