Less than a month since the last confirmed Google Panda update data refresh (occurred on February 27th), one of the most glorious / notorious (depends where your site stands) search algorithm of recent years that target thin-low quality sites, is striking again.
Unlike the two latest Panda updates which didn’t announced directly by Google, in January it has been confirmed in an email and in February it has been confirmed in the monthly search updates series, this update (or refresh) was announced in a Tweet as happened few times in the past before. Here’s the Tweet:
Panda refresh rolling out now. Only ~1.6% of queries noticeably affected. Background on Panda: goo.gl/mTKCH
— A Googler (@google) March 23, 2012
Although Google are stating in the Tweet that “only” about 1.6% of search queries will be affected, I wouldn’t advise to hold cheap 1.6%. There were already Panda refresh cases in the past where Google stated they will affect less than 1%, which later on proved to be pretty significant.
At this point in time though, this update effect is still pretty unclear. From the few niches I follow regularly and examined, I didn’t saw any actual major movements but it may change as all Google’s data centers will get updated (we are only few hours after the initial roll out).
The one thing I can point out at for further tracking and checking is possible big fluctuations in Google’s global search domains rankings (google.com.au, google.ca, google.co.in, etc.) However, even though I discovered some big rankings changes, I still can’t determine decisively if something major indeed happened and if it is Panda-related.
The impact of this Panda refresh is also yet to arrive to SEO forums, where besides a few mentions there aren’t any real noticeable references. I already saw that some calling this update Panda 3.4, but I lost track of all those numbers so I’ll simply call Panda update March 2012.
Whenever I’ll know better, I will keep you posted!