If you do SEO for websites in any market areas that tend to produce highly spammy search results, then you should be aware that over the weekend Google released an update to their algorithm most commonly referred to as the "payday loans update."
This update, which was designed to combat specific search queries that tend to have a high number of extremely spammy results, saw a refresh that was fairly noticeable to many algorithm watchers and webmasters.
Webmasters started noticing the change over the weekend, leading to speculation about whether it was Panda, Penguin, or something else entirely. However, Google confirmed to Search Engine Watch that it was indeed the payday loans algo that was updated and released.
"Over the weekend we began rolling out a new algorithmic update," a Google spokesperson told SEW. "The update was neither Panda nor Penguin – it was the next generation of an algorithm that originally rolled out last summer for very spammy queries."
This update, which came shortly before Google began rolling out Panda 4.0 yesterday, affects an unknown percentage of search queries. However, like the previous update, the next generation update affected international queries more substantially than English queries, as part of their crackdown on international spam. More details are slowly coming out regarding what has been affected, and non-English sites are definitely seeing the changes.
The first-generation update was released in June 2013, and got its name because payday loans was one of the queries that was targeted and affected by the change. It affects many markets and areas outside of the payday loan search space, specifically targeting high-value, highly spammed search results.