We recently reported that there were wide-scale reports of the Google Update this last weekend, and after looking at various SERP trackers and reading the surrounding chatter in SEO communities it was clear something was afoot with Panda repeatedly mentioned.
While we finished the post saying that Google had confirmed that there was no Panda Update, they have now gone a step further, with Gary Illyes responding to a question on Twitter about all the SERP fluctuations.
The image shown in the tweet below is correctly reproduced further down this page, to the right, and is typically used for "I don't know". Certainly, it is a witty attempt alluding to the acknowledgment that apparently something has happened, but it was not something specifically intended by a new update.
@thebcco pic.twitter.com/4pYE8cK80v— Gary Illyes (@methode) May 6, 2015
Ah, but before you go all skeptical about my interpretation of the Twitter response, check out what John Mueller, the guy that is responsible for all the Google Webmaster Central Hangouts had to say in yesterday's Google Hangout below:
In it John Mueller said:
We didn’t update anything that I’m aware of. I saw Barry’s blog post about some changes he saw on the weekend. But that’s not related to panda or penguin, we essentially make updates all the time, so these are changes as normal.
So clearly, Google is not willing to say what was changed. By referring to "changes as normal" they are just referring to the fact that they make changes to the algorithm around a 100 time a month, with some small changes and apparently looking at this some larger ones.
This will be good news for those webmasters looking forward to a Panda Update (and didn't see positive movement this last weekend). For others, it will leave them scratching their heads as to what changed this time, and many SEO specialists will now be analyzing the data from the 100's or 1000s of websites and keywords they track to determine if there is anything they can correlate.
From our initial analysis of a much smaller subset of websites and keywords, our initial view is that this could be related to on-page factors as well as the possible relevance of pages \ keywords within the website as a whole. We say this, as the extensive reporting of a Panda Update lends itself to the theory that the latest algorithm change affects similar factors to what Panda targets.
No doubt as people has longer to digest the changes some more substantial analysis will be revealed.