Explore our Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Toolkit

Google Algorithm Update: Core Ranking Algorithm changes [@SmartInsights Alert]

Author's avatar By Alexander Clark 13 Jan, 2016
Essential Essential topic

Panda Integrated into Googles' Core Ranking Algorithm

Importance [rating=4] (Webmasters & SEO Consultants)
Recommended Source: 7 Steps to Successful SEO Guide.

Update 20th of Jan 2016: Another major set of ranking changes over the weekend (16th-17th of Jan) led some to think Google were updating Penguin, but Google was quick to clarify that it was actually further updates to the core algorithm rather than a Penguin update. It seems mostly likely these ranking fluctuations were just further side effects from Google baking Panda into it's core algorithm the weekend before.


Over the weekend (8-10 January 2016) there were mutterings of changes to the Google Algorithm, with a new Penguin update being deemed the most likely candidate.

However, earlier this morning (12th January 2016) news started to trickle out, that the speculated Penguin Update was not the cause of many SEO's ranking changes and fluctuations.

Instead, all the testing Google had been carrying out the previous week was to facilitate Panda. It was "baked in" to the Google Core Algorithm, rather than acting as a filter added after the Core algorithm had done its work.

The news wasn't exactly unexpected, as there was speculation around the slow roll out earlier in 2015. Later with a Google Spokesperson confirming that this was, in fact, the case...

“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”.

However, it was presumed this would take place at a later date.

One question raised by many SEO's across the various forums was whether this would mean "Real-Time" Panda? In short the answer is No.

More from Gary Ilyes.


What is Panda?

Panda was an algorithm introduced in February 2011, intended to stop sites with poor quality content (See section 6.1 on page 34 of the Google Search Quality Guidelines for a definition of poor quality content), reaching the upper echelons of the Search Engine Results Pages (SERP), by penalising sites with thin content.

panda gif

It’s been periodically updated since 2011, with the most recent version, Panda 4.2, being rolled out slowly since July 2015 leading to speculation it would be added to the Core Ranking Algorithm.

What is the Core Ranking Algorithm?

The Core Ranking Algorithm is how Google finds, ranks, and returns the relevant results in real-time.

What does this mean?

If your rankings begin to fluctuate, check you're not falling foul of Panda updates. If you're still a little stuck, check out our 7 Steps to Successful SEO Guide.


Author's avatar

By Alexander Clark

A former member of the Smart Insights team, I’m always on the look out to collaborate with the finest minds in Digital Marketing. Currently working at Silverbean, I have a distinctive interest in all things outreach, content, strategy, and measurement. If you’d like to get in touch, you can do so through my LinkedIn or Twitter accounts. When I’m not planning new campaigns and content, I love playing the Bass Guitar and Drums (not necessarily at the same time) also racking up as many hours as possible on Football Manager and the Rugby pitch.

Recommended Blog Posts