Google’s ‘Panda’ algorithm update, only released back in February of 2011, has recently undergone another series of changes, making the current version the 20th alliteration of the rule changing update. Google’s Matt Cutts, their head of web spam, had stated that the update will only affect about 2.4% of English language searches, with a much lower percentage of change for search results in other languages. The primary aim of the update was to address the inherent advantage that same-name domains had other domains. While in the past, same name domains have benefited from sharing the same (or remarkably similar) domain to popular search terms, the Google Panda 20 update seeks to change this.
What is interesting about this update, is that prior to the change, Google stated that less then 1% of their searches were to be affected. However, in the wake of the change, SEO practitioners were finding that the number of searches affected by the latest update, in fact far exceeded 1% of all searches. This excess of changed result pages in the wake of this update has led many to believe another update may have been introduced at the same time, affecting an ever greater number of searches. Google, thus far, hasn’t seemed to have given a proper answer to this excess in changed result pages.
What is clear is that Google is making changes to how it orders it search results all the time, and that no web master can be fully confident that their search ranking is cemented. It would seem that the only way to truly keep on top of these changes is to dedicate a lot of time into following these changes and adapting accordingly (which can be very time consuming). This is why more and more companies are turning to specialists to manage their SEO efforts, as the influx of changes is proving to more and more a challenge for many web devs.