Google Panda, one of Google’s most significant spam-fighting algorithms, launched in February 2011, is officially part of Google’s core ranking algorithm. It is unclear exactly when this happened; we at Search Engine Land are trying to find out.
Jennifer Slegg posted a Panda guide that was vetted by Google’s PR team, and part of that included a statement that said Panda is now part of Google’s core ranking algorithm. Here is that statement:
Panda is an algorithm that’s applied to sites overall and has become one of our core ranking signals. It measures the quality of a site, which you can read more about in our guidelines. Panda allows Google to take quality into account and adjust ranking accordingly.
Gary Illyes from Google confirmed the authenticity of this quote.
For one thing, this means Google will likely never confirm another Panda update for us in the future. The last confirmed Panda update was Panda 4.2, which was expected to roll out over “several months.”
Well, now that algorithm is baked into their main algorithm.
We still have a lot of questions around what this means. Is the core ranking algorithm updating in real time? It doesn’t seem so, as we just reported this morning on a new core ranking algorithm update that ran over the weekend. That update seems to have had some Panda signals in it, based on my analysis of the reports in the SEO community.
We are also trying to find out approximately when Google incorporated Panda into their core algorithm and what that means. I estimate that it happened in late 2015, but I am trying to get something on the record from Google.
As we hear more, we will update you.
Postscript: Just to be clear, Gary Illyes from Google updated us on Twitter saying the Panda/Core update stuff here is not real time.