This isn’t unexpected. When Google began rolling out the very, very slow Panda update last year, many of us speculated that maybe it was being rolled into the core ranking algo, and a Google spokesperson confirmed to us that this is true. “Panda is an algorithm that’s applied to sites overall and has become one of our core ranking signals. It measures the quality of a site, which you can read more about in our guidelines. Panda allows Google to take quality into account and adjust ranking accordingly.”
When Panda first launched (and initially known as Farmer, for those who want to go digging through the archives) was a separate spam filter. This meant that it was a filter that was applied to the search results after the core ranking algo as a completely separate piece. But now, Panda is rolled into the core ranking algo.
This also means that core ranking algo changes, such as the one we have been seeing over the last few days that Google confirmed is NOT Penguin, could technically be Panda, although we have no confirmation of whether it is or isn’t. But now there is a possibility of any core ranking changes could be connected to Panda.
If you haven’t read Understanding Google Panda: Definitive Algo Guide for SEOs, it is worth reading for some very detailed information, along with numerous new quotes directly from Google on just about everything there is to know about Panda.
Added: There have been some rumors going around that core algo = real time. Google simply told me it was core, no mention was made to it being real time.
John Mueller also confirmed it wasn’t real time in today’s Hangout, and Gary Illyes said the same on Twitter.
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