Google loves to play games. They love saying one thing while playing it a bit differently in practice. They always want to keep webmasters in the shade and unprepared for whatever algorithm update they plan to release in order to avoid manipulative blackhat SEO activities.
So they had another tiny deception game this time also.
On November 20th, after many reports about noticeable search fluctuations Google’s spokesman stated there wasn’t any update but they intend to discharge a Panda update in a week or two. I’m pretty sure this was the most accurate forecast Google have ever released regarding the Panda update (and probably all other search updates as well).
But why make the lives of webmasters so predictable if you can perplex them just a scantly more? Instead of releasing a Panda data refresh within a week or two as they stated, they tweaked the algorithm a day later on November 21st as it has now been confirmed. It’s just much more fun to stir things up like this!
Google says that this latest Panda data refresh (update #22) has affected 0.8% of search queries in English which is about the same percentage as prior data refreshes. For comparison, an internal alteration to the Panda typically ripples with a larger effect such as the Panda update on September 27th that carried an impact on 2.4% of English queries.
Anyways, the previous Panda update (update #21) took place just a couple of weeks before on November 6th, unlike the familiar pattern of update every 4-6 weeks. Back then, I speculated that it might be the last update for 2012 as the folks at Google’s search team commonly don’t agitate the algorithm too much during the holiday season.
Perhaps they have decided to push the last Panda update of 2012 before it gets really busy which can explain the early data refresh. But as I said before and I’ll say it again now, you can never know for sure with Google.
After all, they do love to play games.