Google's Matt Cutts today confirmed that Google has lifted J.C. Penney's SEO penalty, that the Panda update will continue to rollout internationally and offered numerous SEO- and search-related tips in a live webchat on the Google Webmaster Central YouTube Channel.
"We saw a valid reconsideration request" from JCP, Cutts said, and explained that, after reviewing the request, Google found that the company "did quite a bit of work to cleanup what had been going on. You don'uo;t want to be vindictive or punitive, so after three months the penalty was lifted." He later added, "I think the penalty was tough and the appropriate length."
A SEL article earlier this week, mentioned that many of JCP's old pages/URLs have returned to high spots in Google's search results. But those URLs are actually blocked by Penney's robots.txt file, and they redirect to the company's home page.
Cutts said those're "probably old pages that haven't been recrawled," and said they'll "naturally drop down" as the URLs are recrawled.
Cutts said the Panda update will eventually roll out internationally. Right now, Panda has rolled out beyond the U.S., but still only impacts English-language queries worldwide.
When will Google be ready to expand Panda beyond English queries? "Probably not in the next couple weeks. Maybe in the next couple months," Cutts said.
He also clarified that there've been no manual exceptions, and "I don't expect us to have any manual exceptions to Panda."
In responding to a question asking when Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools will be tied together more consistently, Cutts explained that "Analytics is different team, in a different location, and they're different tools. Analytics also came in via acquisition, from Urchin, so they're in different "silos."
Cutts confirmed what Google said when the +1 button launched: Google will use +1 activity to influence its search results.
You can check out on the Google Webmaster Help YouTube Channel Matt Cutts is live answering questions.