Each year Google updates its search algorithm many times with minor changes. Occasionally, Google rolls out a major change in their algorithm with updates such as Panda or Penguin that have a significant impact on search results. The last major update Google rolled out was Panda 4.1 in September 2014.

Recently, Google announced that the next Panda update, Panda 4.2, would occur in July. It is now August and Google is experiencing the slowest roll out ever.

During a Q&A session, Google’s Jon Mueller was asked about the Panda update multiple times. Mueller mentioned that Panda 4.2. is “actually pretty much a similar update to before” and that the slow roll out is due to “technical reasons”, not to purposefully confuse people. When asked if the slow roll out has any repercussions on crawling and indexing, Mueller clarified that they are “crawling and indexing normal and using that content as well to recognize higher quality and lower quality sites”. Mueller emphasized several times throughout the interview that the slow roll out was really due to an “internal issue” on their end.

Panda first launched in 2011. The purpose of Panda was to show high-quality websites at a higher search ranking. Panda forced a lot of websites to redesign their internal structure and optimize all their web pages with improved, user-friendly and helpful content. The Panda algorithm aims to hamper sites with the following low content types from ranking well:

Thin Content: If you have a large amount of pages that contain very few words or sentences, the Panda algorithm may determine that the majority of the website is of low quality.

Duplicate Content: There are two major ways duplicated content can demote your search ranking. First, when a site contains a large amount of content that is copied from other sources across the web. The site does not produce original content and therefore deemed a low-quality site. The second problem is duplicated content from you own site. Duplicate product descriptions and location pages can trigger this type of duplication.

Low-quality Content: Before Panda was introduced, it was common to create short, daily pieces of content in order to indicate that your site was timely and up-to-date, regardless of the quality of that content. This created a ton of low-quality content clogging the internet with useless summaries of articles and regurgitated information. Longer, high-quality content that solves a problem, answers a question and is well thought out has become the higher standard.

Updates to the Google algorithm are not new. For now, we will have to wait until Panda 4.2 is fully implemented to learn more about the major changes.