John Mueller, webmaster trends analyst at Google, said in a hangout Tuesday that the Panda Algorithm rolls out “pretty much” continuously. After one update has completed its rollout, the next is prepared, and the process begins again.
This has quite significantly implications for webmasters, as it makes it quite difficult to point to a particular drop in traffic for your website, and say “yep, that ties in with the last Panda Update.”
John Mueller was asked multiple questions about Panda (at 17:58 minutes in):
- How long until Panda Algorithm finishes its slow rollout?
- How often is the Panda Score updated?
- Is user satisfaction for particular queries taken into account?
- Will the Panda Update happen before Penguin?
In response, John Mueller replied:
The Panda algorithm is rolling more or less continuously, in the sense that one update rolls out and the next update gets prepared and starts rolling out as well.
So it is not that you’d see this kind of discrete point in time where you say this was that update and that was the next update.
It kind of rolling continuously. So from there, it doesn’t really make sense to look at specific dates.
We already knew that Panda is now part of the Core Algorithm, and not updated in Real-time. Furthermore, back in April 2015, John Mueller said that the data was not updating regularly, but this could just be because the rollout takes so long to complete, rather than a large gap between rollouts.:
I think both of those algorithms currently are not updating the data regularly. So that is something for both of them, where we kind of have to push the updates as well.
As a result of past statements, there seems to be some conflicting information (or, at least, lack of clarity), as to how often and how frequently Panda is updated. This is especially so, with part of Mueller’s response stating that “the next update gets prepared” which implies that there is some time between the roll out of each Panda Update while they prepare for the next one. This is not exactly what we would define as “continuously”, and we would recommend caution before taking this at face value (as other reputable SEO’s appear to have).
In conclusion, we would suggest that the following is more of an accurate summation of things:
- Google no longer wishes to announce when new Panda Updates \ refreshes happen.
- There is still a period where Google has to collate the data before rolling out a new refresh.
- They are trying to roll out new refreshes more frequently, or at least without too much delay after the previous one.
- When the refresh does happen, it will happen slowly over a prolonged period.
You can see the full discussion in the video of the Hangout below (at the correct time):