Google announced 40 new changes to its flagship search engine, YouTube and other services at the end of February. Some of these changes have occurred, and many others will be rolled out in the near future. The biggest news is a change to the search algorithm, which means that the Panda 3.3 update has finally arrived.
The original Panda update was released about a year ago, and it was designed to improve the relevancy of search results. The algorithm has been tweaked several times since then, and the most recent update was in January. Panda 3.2 did little more than refresh the data in the system, which Panda 3.3 will also do.
The Panda 3.3 update also changes a few signals that Google uses to rank search results. The official Google blog states that an old signal associated with backlinks will no longer be used to generate search rankings. Google has refused to comment any further on the matter, so the identity of the signal remains a mystery.
According to the official Google blog, Panda 3.3 also changes the way that local searches are handled. This initiative will result in local search results that are tied closely to the main Google search rankings. Google has also stated that these changes will make it easy for users to find results from their own cities.