Google's Matt Cutts sent out a tweet that has gotten the SEO world wondering if life is about to become easier. The tweet, as all tweets are, was to the point: "Expect some Panda-related flux in the next few weeks, but will have less impact than previous updates (~2%)." (hat tip for Search Engine Watch for spotting the tweet).
The speculation is that Google is becoming more regular and transparent about forthcoming updates, SEW says.
Google has, in the past, has provided little notice about such changes, in the hopes of preventing sites from gaming the changes. That is why the industry was largely guessing earlier this month if and if so, when exactly, Panda 2.5 had been released. The changes blindsided a lot of sites, including such names as consumeraffairs.com, prnewswire.com, entrepreneur.com, thenextweb.com and technorati.com - sites well outside the typical content farms of the Internet world, according to Searchmetrics.
Some of the sites in the complete ranking were hit the first time around by the Panda update, got back some visibility and then dropped again with the update 2.5, Searchmetrics noted - and the reason why is open to debate. Was Google unhappy with earlier changes brought about by Panda or was it that the pages that didn't make the expected changes required by Google were dropped again, just a little later, it wondered.
Google eventually confirmed that Panda 2.5 rolled out on Wednesday, September 28.
Content Farms Still Feeling the Pain
One of the biggest changes was introduced earlier this year with the original Panda or Farmer. Its intent was clear - indeed, Google spelled out what it's point was: to move low-quality content further down the search rankings.
It hurt such sites as Demand Media, which is apparently still struggling. The company is planning to slow down article production at eHow, Search Engine Land reports. Instead, its focus will be on other content such as slide shows and videos.
In May, Demand Media said it would shut down the user-generated content portion of its eHow website. Instead it said it would run longer feature-length articles written by journalists with five to ten years of experience, according to a job notice it has up on its website. In addition, the content on eHow that does remains will be subject to an editing and fact-checking process before it is reposted.