Complete list of Panda and Penguin updates, and all other notable changes to Google's search result algorithms in 2012.
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|#||Date||Update||Update type||Noticeable effect|
|36||Dec 21, 2012||Panda — #23||Data refresh||1.3% of English searches|
|35||Dec 4, 2012||Knowledge Graph #2||Expansion||No estimate given|
|34||Nov 21, 2012||Panda — #22||Data refresh||0.8% of English searches|
|33||Nov 5, 2012||Panda — #21||Data refresh||1.1% of English searches|
|32||Oct 9, 2012||Page Layout #2||Data refresh||0.7% of English searches|
|31||Oct 5, 2012||Penguin #3||Data refresh||0.3% of English searches|
|30||Oct 4, 2012||Aug/Sep 65-Pack||Ranking signals||No estimate given|
|29||Sep 28, 2012||Exact Match Domains||First launch||0.6% of En-US searches|
|28||Sep 27, 2012||Panda — #20||Ranking signals||2.4% of English searches|
|27||Sep 18, 2012||Panda — 3.9.2 (#19)||Data refresh||0.7% of searches|
|26||Sep 14, 2012||Domain Diversity||Data refresh||No estimate given|
|25||Aug 19, 2012||Panda — 3.9.1 (#18)||Data refresh||1% of searches|
|24||Aug 14, 2012||7 Search Results||New feature||No estimate given|
|23||Aug 10, 2012||DMCA Penalty||Penalty||No estimate given|
|22||Aug 10, 2012||June/July 86-Pack||Ranking signals||No estimate given|
|21||Jul 24, 2012||Panda — 3.9 (#17)||Data refresh||1% of searches|
|20||Jun 25, 2012||Panda — 3.8 (#16)||Data refresh||1% of global searches|
|19||Jun 9, 2012||Panda — 3.7 (#15)||Data refresh||1% US & 1% global|
|18||Jun 7, 2012||May 39-Pack||Ranking signals||No estimate given|
|17||May 25, 2012||Penguin — 1.1 (#2)||Data refresh||0.1 % of English searches|
|16||May 16, 2012||Knowledge Graph (#1)||New Feature||No estimate given|
|15||May 4, 2012||April 52-Pack||Ranking signals||No estimate given|
|14||Apr 27, 2012||Panda — 3.6 (#14)||Data refresh||No estimate given|
|13||Apr 24, 2012||Penguin — 1.0 (#1)||First launch||3.1% of English searches|
|12||Apr 19, 2012||Panda — 3.5 (#13)||Data refresh||No estimate given|
|11||Apr 16, 2012||Parked Domain Bug||Algorithm error||No estimate given|
|10||Apr 3, 2012||March 50-Pack||Ranking signals||No estimate given|
|9||Mar 23, 2012||Panda — 3.4 (#12)||Data refresh||1.6% of searches|
|8||Feb 27, 2012||Venice||First launch||No estimate given|
|7||Feb 27, 2012||Panda — 3.3 (#11)||Data refresh||No estimate given|
|6||Feb 27, 2012||February 40-Pack||Algorithm change||No estimate given|
|5||Feb 3, 2012||February 17-Pack||Algorithm change||No estimate given|
|4||Jan 19, 2012||Page Layout #1||First launch||1% of searches globally|
|3||Jan 18, 2012||Panda — 3.2 (#10)||Data refresh||No estimate given|
|2||Jan 10, 2012||Search + Your World||New feature||No estimate given|
|1||Jan 5, 2012||January 30-Pack||Algorithm change||No estimate given|
Rolled out right before the holidays, Panda update #23 affected substantially more searches than most data refreshes.
Google's Knowledge Graph now functional in a number of new languages other than English, including Spanish, French, German, Portuguese, Japanese, Russian, or Italian.
On November 6 2012, Google confirmed a data refresh from the day before. No major changes with this one.
Announced by Google engineer Matt Cutts via Twitter, this was the first confirmed update to the Page Layout Algorithm since its launch in January.
This latest change to the Page Layout Algorithm was likely not only the second update. There is some speculation that other Page Layout-related updates or data refreshes were made between the January launch and this latest change.
Announced by Google engineer Matt Cutts via Twitter—and fully rolled out the same day—Penguin's third update was a minor data refresh only.
With this new list of 65 recent updates, Google listed new some more new search features and algorithm improvements, notably:
New algorithm addition to reduce low-quality exact-match domains in search results was announced by Matt Cutts via Twitter. Not all exact-match domains were affected; only low quality sites suffered drops in rankings for their domains' exact-match keywords.
Panda's update #20 was a substantial change to the algorithm, not just a data refresh. The update began rolling out September 27, and it took 3-4 days to reflect all changes in the search results. Because this was a major update to Panda's algorithm, it put an end to the 3.x series, and the search industry shifted over unanimously to #20, instead of starting a 4.x series.
This Panda refresh impacted fewer than 0.7% of searches.
The Domain Diversity update was released to help prevent sequential results in the search results from the same domain, known as domain clustering. This effort was relatively successful for first page search results; however, it wasn't until Google's Domain Crowding Update of 2013 that domain clusters passed first page results were successfully addressed.
Another minor Panda refresh that impacted approximately 1% of searches—typical of data-only updates. Since the Panda filter 3.0 series ran out of numbers, the new update version was labeled 3.9.1.
Certain Google searches began displaying 7 first page results, instead of the default 10. We now know that 7-pack results are more commonly returned for navigational queries (a search for a brand as a means of navigating to its website).Top
Google announced that they would soon be penalizing sites that receive repeated, valid, copyright removal notices. The DMCA penalty also became known as the Pirate Update, referring to copyright piracy.
With this huge list of 85 recent updates, Google listed many new changes and improvements to their algorithms, including to projects name Page Quality, Answers, Mobile, and Other Ranking Components, as well as to their Panda filter:
Another data refresh to the Panda filter, which impacted about 1% of the search results.
Another data refresh to the Panda filter was confirmed, which had a much smaller impact than Panda 3.7.
Following reports of significant search engine ranking fluctuations, Google announced that the latest version of Panda was rolled out.
With this new list of 39 recent updates, Google described algorithm improvements that include changes to the Penguin Webspam Filter. Other notable changes:
Google's first data refresh of the month-old Penguin Webspam filter.
In a significant step of merging the Semantic Web with search results, Google launched it's Knowledge Graph, which integrates a new section in a box at the top right of results pages. For some searches, The Knowledge Graph offers basic facts and figures about the searched term, usually a person, place, or thing. The information offered in the Knowledge Graph is a summary that Google is confident it "knows" about a given subject, instead of merely returning search results based on words.
The nature of The Semantic Web is that it adds context to information, and this helps machines differentiate between people, places, and things that have the same name, such as The Taj Mahal the monument, the musical group, and the casino.
Google's Knowledge Graph is a major step towards the next generation of search engine, which, according to Google,
taps into the collective intelligence of the web and understands the world a bit more like people do.
With this new list of 52 recent updates, Google described . Other notable changes:
One of the most fundamental signals used in search is whether and how your search terms appear on the pages you’re searching. This change improves the way those terms are scored.
While people were still adjusting to the Penguin update, Google refreshed the Panda filter, which had little impact on searches. This was the first time that the Panda filter was run within days of a previous Panda update (April 19, 2012) .
In an effort to serve up better, more relevant search results, Google announced the launch of an algorithm to improve their efforts at reducing webspam—namely manipulative link schemes.
As with the previous year's Panda Algorithm, the Penguin update is not constantly running; instead, it's a spam filter that is periodically refreshed in order to reduce unworthy websites from Google's search results.
With this announcement, Google maintained that as long as quality guidelines are adhered to, SEO "...can make a site more crawlable and make individual pages more accessible and easier to find".
Google considered the results of Penguin to be successful. Matt Cutts explained that the Penguin algorithm was designed to act against pages that signal an extremely high likelihood of spam being involved. According to Cutts, the downside to Penguin is that some spam might still get through to search results, but the upside is that you have fewer false positives.
If you've been hit by Penguin, reconsideration requests with Google won't help. Remove the spam, and your site will recover naturally with the next Penguin update. If, however, your site was affected by the Penguin update, and you don't think it should have been affected, you can file a report here.
Another data refresh to the Panda filter was confirmed.
Due to a temporary bug, Google mistakenly classified some websites as being parked when they weren't. The issue was resolved within a couple of days.
This release of monthly search quality highlights was widely criticized as being even more vague than usual. Of the 50 changes, some of the more notable included:
On March 23rd, Google used Twitter for the first time to announce an update; a data refresh to the Panda algorithm
As part of February's 40-pack, the Venice Update helped find results from searchers' cities more reliably. The result is better local results for queries that don't specify a location.
Data was refreshed on the Panda algorithm, three days after the one year anniversary of Panda's first launch.
On February 3, 2012, Google announced 40 new algorithm improvements, including those related to:
Now we’re better able to detect when both queries and documents are local to the user."improves the triggering of Local Universal results by relying more on the ranking of our main search results as a signal". In other words, queries for broad search terms, e.g., "plumber", will produce better localized results
On February 3, 2012, Google announced 17 new algorithm improvements made in January, including :
Due to lowered user-experience on websites when main content is buried under a ton of ads, Google released its Page Layout, aka Top Heavy, aka Ads Above the Fold algorithm, to penalize sites with high ad-to-content ratios at the top of pages.
If you noticed a sudden drop in traffic around the time of Google's Page Layout algorithm, and your web pages are top-heavy with ads, you were likely hit by this update.
If your site has been penalized, recovery can take several weeks, as Googlebot will need to crawl and process the pages of your site before it's re-indexed.
With the announcement of the Page Layout Algorithm, Google suggested using their Browser Size Tool, to help see how websites looks in various common screen resolutions, when determining ad placement.
On January 25th, Google confirmed a data refresh to its Panda algorithm which was rolled out about one week earlier. This would place the Google Panda 3.2 update as happening somewhere around January 18, 2012.Top
Search + Your World is an optional feature (enabled by default) that pulls results from content shared with your through your Google+ profile into regular search results. Integrating users' social graphs into search results is another step towards Google's trend towards increasingly personalized search results.Top
With this new list of 30 recent updates, Google began assigning codenames on a more granular level to describe minor algorithm improvements. Notable changes announced include:
As Google's algorithms improve, search-friendly website rankings do as well. Learn about Springboard SEO's search engine optimization services.