Google makes changes to its algorithm every day (sometimes multiple changes in one day).
When the company actually announces them, you know they’re bigger than the average update. Google’s head of webspam Matt Cutts tweeted about the updates on Tuesday night:
Panda has been refreshed on a regular basis for quite some time now, and Google has indicated in the past that it no longer requires announcements because of that. At one point, it was actually softened. But now, we have a clear announcement about it, and a new version number (4.0), so it must be significant. This indicates that the algorithm was actually updated as opposed to just refreshed, opening up the possibility for some big shuffling of rankings.
The change will impact roughly 7.5% of queries in English to the degree regular users might notice.
Retail not under fire
Rankings reports from 2 platforms for this week won’t be in until early next week, but preliminary searches (signed out, Google, multiple location, multiple platform, OS) show that for non-branded top and 2nd level categorical keyword searches (aka bread and butter) we are showing no downward movement in organic rankings. In some cases, we see improvement. More accurate numbers come in next week. (do I hear wood knocking?)
As we know, eBay was a major loser (at least so far) and so were a few other UGC and non UGC content giants:
Winners (imperfect list)
These lists are from searchengineland’s coverage on the data and are imperfect in the way that their rankings changes could’ve been influenced by other factors than an algorithmic update.
There was a 2nd update concerning spammy queries such as “payday loans” that will most likely not affect the retail sector.