Report: Google Panda update 2.2 coming soon

Google plans to release another update to its algorithm to address sites that republish content and place higher in results than original sources, Search Engine Land says.

Don Reisinger
Don Reisinger
Former CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
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Google is making more changes to its search algorithm, the company reportedly confirmed at the SMX Advanced conference in Seattle this week.

According to Search Engine Land, which puts on the event, Google's Matt Cutts said that his company plans to launch Panda version 2.2 at some point in the near future. The update will reportedly tackle the issue of sites that republish content being placed higher in search results than the original source.

Google launched a Panda update earlier this year. At the time, the company's goal was to improve results on queries that had previously been dominated by content farms, like eHow and Answers.com, that wrote SEO-friendly stories that contained little actual value to users. (SEO stands for search engine optimization.) In a blog post announcing the change, Google said that it would affect 11.8 percent of all queries.

"This update is designed to reduce rankings for low-quality sites--sites which are low-value add for users, copy content from other websites or sites that are just not very useful," the search giant wrote in a blog post in February. "At the same time, it will provide better rankings for high-quality sites--sites with original content and information such as research, in-depth reports, thoughtful analysis and so on."

In April, CNET examined the impact that update, along with the addition in April of more "user feedback signals" to Google's algorithm, had on results. Based on its research, CNET found that news sites took the most advantage from Google's changes, while sites like WikiHow and eHow were hit hard.

Demand Media, the company that operates eHow and Livestrong, among other sites, confirmed during an earnings call with investors last month that it was hit hard by the algorithm change.

"In February and April, we experienced two major algorithm changes," Demand Media CEO Richard Rosenblatt said during his company's first-quarter earnings call. "For eHow, here is the impact: as compared to the levels before the first February change, we saw a net decline in search engine referrals of 20 percent."

In response, Demand Media promised more high-quality postings on popular topics.

Though Google's upcoming 2.2 update might not affect as many sites as its major update in February and the subsequent algorithm change in April, it signals that the company is constantly evaluating results, and will change things as necessary. In fact, Cutts reportedly said at the SMX Advanced Conference that the search giant will continue to tweak its algorithm as it sees fit.

In response to a request for confirmation that it's launching an algorithm change soon, Google has this to say: "We'll continue to iterate on returning high-quality sites to Google users as part of the roughly 500 changes we make to our ranking algorithms each year. We have nothing more specific to announce at this time."