Panda local search update rolled out in time for holiday season

It's that time of the year again. No, not Christmastime, but time for Google to issue another update to its Panda algorithm, which affected a good number of local searches during the holiday season wrap-up.

Google announced it had officially issued an update to Panda on December 21. The latest refresh, Panda 23, impacted about 1.3 percent of English based queries, making it the most impactful Panda update since late September, when Panda 20 affected 2.4 percent of English queries. Comparably the last two Panda updates, 22 and 21, impacted just 0.8 percent and 1.1 percent of English queries, respectively.

Local search experts also noticed that Google backtracked on last year's pledge that it would not roll out data refreses during the holidays. Last year, Google tweeted it would hold off on algorithm updates until the new year had arrived.

Panda, launched in February 2011, is part of Google's twofold algorithm strategy designed to weed out low-quality sites. Penguin is the other component to Google's search engine algorithm arsenal, which takes out spam in results.