Google’s Matt Cutts had announced that the company would release updates in a phased manner for 10 days on every month to prevent a huge impact on webmasters. The latest Panda update was released on July 18, 2013 and initial analysis does indicate that this update seems to have a lower impact than earlier updates.
Webmasters will anyway find it tough to gauge between a regular fluctuation and one affected by a Panda update. However, in this case, many users of Google Webmaster Tools seem to have noticed that their traffic has remained quite stable even as they seem to witness a confirmed rise in number of impressions. It is still not clear as to whether Google Webmaster Tools itself has changed the way it measures impressions or whether there is another reason for this change.
On the other hand, informational sites including Wikipedia seem to have been promoted in the rankings game and this change includes rankings of smaller sites as well. Google had anyway indicated that informational and authority sites would become prominent in coming times, and the new Panda update seems to have included just such an algorithm to promote their rankings.
The new update seems to have focused on understanding the difference between an actual authority site and others that may have merely tried to promote themselves as one. One other noteworthy change seems to be that sites that had received unnatural links warnings seem to be ranking once again. This may be good news for sites that have used measures such as disavowing links and may have applied for re-submissions.
While the latest Panda update does seem to have had a lower impact than earlier ones, it is still a bit early to make a definite comment since the update will spread over a span of 10 days. The coming days will confirm if this Panda too possesses a sharp bite or whether it is just a minor tweak to Google’s algorithm.