Panda is now part of Google’s core algorithm: What you need to know

SEOs have been noticing the latest changes in web rankings. What's happening? Panda is now part of Google's core algorithm.

Written by Stephanie Barnes
SEO |   2 minute read

Yesterday, we recognised there was major changes in our web rankings. Although many of these were positive, it made us wonder what sparked the sudden change. As we’ve been patiently waiting for the arrival of the real-time Penguin, we thought it had finally made its debut - however we were wrong. It was, in fact, the return of the Panda…

cute baby panda

Who is Panda?

First released in 2011, Google Panda is a search algorithm that aims to knock down the rankings of low quality websites with thin amounts of content. Panda is an extra filter that aims to exclude any scam sites (here’s the secrets to figuring out if you’re dealing with a scammer) and helps you find the best websites for your search queries.

Over the last five years, Google has been releasing updates to improve this filter algorithm. Last July, Panda 4.2 was slowly rolled out.

Now it has been confirmed Panda is part of Google’s core algorithm.

Panda and Google’s core algorithm

On Twitter, employees at Google have confirmed the change.


Originally Panda was just a separate spam filter. It was applied to your search results AFTER the core ranking algorithm had done its work.


google core algorithm and panda


core algorithm with panda

Now that Google has integrated Panda into their core algorithm, any search you make means Panda is working instantly.

Instead of originally waiting for the core algorithm and then filtering out any spam, Panda is now part of Google’s core search powers - meaning Panda has become one of Google’s core ranking signals.

What will this mean for SEO?

As we have seen for ourselves, there has been major jumps in recent rankings. On every project we work on, we create high quality content that is relevant for the industry and their readers: we’ve never had any reason to fear the Panda before.

Now that Panda is working as part of Google’s main algorithm, Panda’s filter capabilities are working alongside Google’s other ranking signals.

This decision to promote Panda from its secondary filter position into Google’s main league of search ranking factors suggests Google is showing how important it is to create a high quality website.

Panda has always helped to stamp down on spam sites and now that it’s part of the main algorithm certainly suggests Panda will be a permanent feature of Google Search.

Has your website taken a hit?

If your site rankings have taken a major bruising in the last week, it’s possible you’ve been affected by the recent changes to Panda. Have a look at your website and consider why the Panda might not be happy with you. Are you using duplicate content? Your pages lack originality? Does your site look like spam?

Then you need to start making changes. Now that Panda is part of the main core algorithm, it’s not going away so your site needs to change.  



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What have you seen since the new core algorithm update? Share your comments below.