Google’s Panda 4.2 refresh has started rolling out in late July, ten months after the last iteration in September 25, 2014. Unlike the previous updates, however, this Panda is rolling out incredibly slowly.
In fact, the rollout is so slow that even “algo weather” apps, such as Mozcast, aren’t able to detect significant changes in the search results. As such, there has been a lot of talk as to why this latest Panda update is taking such a long time to complete.
In a Google Hangout held on July 31st, Google’s John Mueller finally addressed speculations about the algorithm, explaining that they are not deliberately taking a slow approach to Panda 4.2 to “confuse people,” but rather the slow rollout is due to an “internal issue” related to “technical reasons.”
Mueller added that they are crawling and indexing at a normal pace and using that content to evaluate the quality of websites.
According to Mueller:
“This [Panda rollout] is actually pretty much a similar update to before. For technical reasons we are rolling it out a bit slower. It is not that we are trying to confuse people with this. It is really just for technical reasons.
So, it is not that we are crawling slowly. We are crawling and indexing normal, and we are using that content as well to recognize higher quality and lower quality sites. But we are rolling out this information in a little bit more slower way. Mostly for technical reasons.”
During the Q&A with webmasters, Mueller was asked whether the slowness was related to feedback during the rollout, to which he explicitly answered no.
“It is not like we are making this process slower by design, it is really an internal issue on our side,” Mueller explained.
Webmasters and SEOs have mixed reaction to the slow rollout, with some saying that it is a great way to way to avoid causing havoc in the search results. Others find the long wait to be quite painful.
As this Panda update can take several months, webmasters and SEOs will not be seeing immediately a who the “winners and losers” of the algorithm refresh are. This essentially makes it quite difficult to see patterns around sites that are recovering from penalties related to low quality content.
While it is nice that Google acknowledged and clarified the slow rollout, it still remains unclear what those “technical reasons” are and when the update will complete.
Here is a video of the said Google Hangout: