Too late for new changes…
Unfortunately, once Google begins rolling out one of these updates, it is too late to apply changes that will have any effect during the rolling out phase period. As we have seen previously, these updates have a cut-off date and any changes made after this date will be applied to the next refresh or update.
That said, it is always a good idea to be continually updating content. But if you have been previously impacted by Panda and did not make the changes to increase quality yet, you will need to wait for the next one.
Likewise, if you are now negatively impacted by the Panda algo this time around, you will need to wait for the next update or refresh.
What exactly does “coming months” mean? Does it mean two months? Six months? Or is it in limbo right now depending on how fast (or not) they decide to roll it out on any given day or week?
That said, long roll outs are nothing new to Google, and we have seen it in the past. No one should really be surprised that they aren’t hitting the entire refresh out at once, even though there are some pretty vocal about the long length of the rollout.
Hopefully, this is something we will get further clarification on, or at least an announcement of some variety when it has finished rolling out in the “coming months”, however in other reports, Google is saying the Panda 4.2 update will compete in 10 months.
Who will this affect?
While this update seems to be rolling out much slower than we usually see, with the last refresh Pierre Far from Google said that many high quality small and medium sites were ranking higher.
But the slower update will also make it harder to assess the usual “winners and losers” like we can normally do.
The invisible Panda?
One thing that most SEOs can agree on is that no one can really see the evidence of this refresh going live last weekend. In fact, the fluctuation Mozcast does show happened before the refresh began rolling out, and the temperatures are positively sunny since the roll out started.
Many people look to Mozcast first to either see if anything has rolled out, or to confirm what they are seeing in their own analytics reporting. This is how many have spotted many of the recent updates that Google did not initially confirm, such as the Quality Update earlier this year.
It does raise an interesting question if the traditional serp weather reports are unable to pick up on the changes. Google could easily change from a push Panda update to a slow rolling one, and webmasters wouldn’t necessarily be aware unless they saw an uptick or decline in one of their sites. And that date might not correspond with other similar reports that could technically be months apart but stemming from the same initial push.
Panda, Panda, Panda
Bottom line, the long awaited Panda refresh is here, even though you might not be able to actually tell it arrived. Hopefully as the slow roll out continues, we might be able to see some patterns… but not the other hand, we might not.