Headmaster - 9:18 am on Oct 3, 2011 (gmt 0)
I would like to make an observation based on our experiences with panda penalties and recoveries with several websites. It is something which appears not to have been identified by commentators, and it is this:
In formulating its algorithm for Panda, Google appears to be emulating its policies for manual penalties. That is, an algorithmic (Panda) penalty appears to be applied for an initial and specific period of time based on the nature and severity of the breach. Unlike what many commentators have suggested, the end of each penalty period bears no relationship to the date of the next Panda update.
This accords with our own experience, and it fits exactly with the explanation provided by Matt Cutts in his video at [youtube.com...] It’s worth watching twice. Carefully note the comments at 1:02, and the Freudian slip at 1:36.
It makes every bit of sense that Panda penalties would follow a template similar to that of manual penalties. After all, the concept behind Panda is to automate the penalty process, and to avoid the requirement for impossibly-large amounts of manual intervention. As we have seen with so many other aspects of Google’s processes, Google is all for and is all about algorithmic solutions.
As with a manual penalty, if the breach is maintained then the penalty period is likely to be lengthened. A (perceived) mild breach which is rectified promptly is likely to have its algorithmic penalty removed within a short period of time (as we have experienced). Manual or algorithmic, these are simply ‘time-outs’, as Matt Cutts explains.
The Panda phenomenon is still relatively very new, and while we are now seeing more of the sharp end of the initiative, the coming months (and it may take many of them) will reveal more of the pattern of Panda and the solutions to avoid it or to escape it.