Was Panda 2.5 Rolled back?
In late September 2011, Google rolled out an update to their algorithm that was designed to clean up much of the low quality content that was bubbling up in the search results. This content was the type of content that provided very poor user experience and reflected on the quality (perceived or real) of Google's search results. Google is constantly tweaking their search algorithmn and the latest has come to be known as Panda, and then Panda 2.5 with September 2011 update. Some are also referring to this directive as "Farmer". This is a reference to the sites that it is supposedly meant to filter out of the search results. The "Content Farms".
When people suggest that poor quality content is subjective, I would suggest that you search on "how to determine the issuing bank based on your credit card number". An eHow article (at the time of my search) would have suggested you turn your card over and look on the back. No really, it stated that. I was searching for some sort of sequence of digits in the card number, eHow suggested turning the card over and looking on the back. How they came to rank better than a site that suggested I search the Bin DB can be summed up by the fact that SEO was involved and is further proof that SEO practices work, for good and for bad.
Panda 2.5 had a major impact on many large content sites. Some say it was the reason for the shift in strategy by Demand Media. Demand Media is primarily known for its eHow.com property. I am one of the few believers, in my community, that feel that Demand Media (and eHow) is perhaps one of the most compelling stories on the web today. They have a massive outline of topics that are being searched on. Many of their articles were light and fluffy and didn't answer the questions that their original title writer intended them to. After all, that was an SEO strategy. Hiring writers, video teams, and graphic designers to fill the outline in with quality content will turn eHow into a monster property that will be an incredibly useful one for users.
As of 10/07/2011 or 10/08/2011, Panda 2.5 appears to have been rolled back or altered. Perhaps the sampling of sites that were harmed by the update didn't meet the expectations of the Google engineers involved. Perhaps Google saw that many of those sites were providing tremendous value to them in terms of advertising revenues. They may have decided that the 2.5 update was too radical and sweeping and had to be something that was more targeted. Back to the drawing board?
Only time will tell whether Panda 2.5 will rear its ugly head again. I agree with the purpose, however the execution will ultimately prove to be incredibly difficult.