Everything you need to know about SEO, published jointly with Search Engine Land every Thursday.
2013: The Year In Google SEO So Far
In the first half of this year, there has been a lot of SEO-related news coming out from Google. Google has pushed out many new algorithms, made many changes to the search result interfaces, penalized many websites and tactics, as well as sent out many warnings about upcoming penalties or actions.
All of this was covered in depth on our sister site, Search Engine Land, but a recap is in order for our Marketing Land readers.
Below, I will summarize the changes in order of Google’s Panda algorithm, Penguin algorithm, and other algorithm updates and launches. I will then discuss some of the manual actions taken and then some of Google’s warnings and statements.
Google Panda Algorithm
Google’s Panda algorithm launched in February 2011 and has since been at the top of the minds of webmasters and SEOs. In the past six months, we learned a lot about Panda. Google recently started to roll out Panda updates over a 10 day period and promised to not give us confirmations of Panda updates going forward. Below are some of the stories we covered in the past six months on this content hungry algorithm.
- Google’s Panda Dance: Matt Cutts Confirms Panda Rolls Out Monthly Over 10 Of 30 Days
- Google Panda Update 25 Seems To Have Hit
- Google: We’re Unlikely To Confirm Current Or Future Panda Updates
- Google: Panda To Be Integrated Into The Search Algorithm (Panda Everflux)
- Google Panda Update Version #24; 1.2% Of Search Queries Impacted
- Official: It’s Google Panda Update 23, Impacting ~1.3% Of Queries
Google Penguin Algorithm
Google’s Penguin algorithm launched in April 2012, and while Panda looked closely at content, Penguin went after links pointing to a page. While Panda’s algorithm impacted a larger percentage of the search results, i.e., 12%, the Penguin update was probably felt more by SEOs, but only impacted about 3% of the search results. We counted four updates to the algorithm since its launch, but in 2013, Google significantly updated the algorithm calling it Penguin version 2.0.
The previous updates happened as such:
- Penguin 1 on April 24, 2012 (impacting ~3.1% of queries)
- Penguin 2 on May 26, 2012 (impacting less than 0.1%)
- Penguin 3 on October 5, 2012 (impacting ~0.3% of queries)
- Penguin 4 on May 22, 2013 (impacting 2.3% of queries)
Other Google Algorithm Updates/Launches
Outside of the big guns, Penguin and Panda, we had many other algorithm and launches from Google in the past six months. From the PayDay loan algorithm, to mobile site speed and domain clustering – Google has been busy working on improving their relevancy and combating spammers. Here are some of the major changes to the algorithm in the past six months.
- Google Payday Loan Algorithm: Google Search Algorithm Update To Target Spammy Queries
- Google: Site Speed Penalty Coming To Mobile Web Sites
- Google Update Underway: But For Payday Or Panda?
- If That Was A Google Update You Felt, Google’s Not Confirming It
- Google’s Matt Cutts: Domain Clustering To Change Again; Fewer Results From Same Domain
Google’s Manual Actions:
Algorithms, such as those mentioned above, impact a wider base of sites, but Google also has an army of search quality analysts that patrol the Web to find sites manipulating their search results and getting by the algorithm. There is a difference between algorithm and manual penalties, and below are some of the manual actions Google has taken or promised to take in the past six months. Some of these impacted huge brands, while others impacted specific industries or techniques.
- Google To Take Action Against Fake Search Results Injected Into Browser History
- After Penalizing Interflora & UK Newspapers, Google Warns Against Advertorials
- Google Zaps Another Link Network, ‘Several Thousand’ Link Sellers Hit
- “Text Link Ads” Was Latest Hit By Google’s Actions Against Link Sellers
- Did Google Just Penalize Another Link Network? SAPE Links
- Link Seller Linking To You? Google Says You Won’t Benefit From It.
- Interflora Gets Its Google Rankings Back, 11 Days After Penalty
- Google Dishes Out PageRank Penalties To UK Newspaper Web Sites For Selling Links
Google SEO Advice & Statements
Google has commonly given advice to the webmaster and SEO community over the years. Some of these come in the form of videos, blog posts and messages conveyed at search conferences. Below is a list of some of the more important tips and words of advice from Google in the past six months.
- Google’s Matt Cutts: Stock Images Do Not Impact Search Engine Rankings
- Links From Press Releases Do Have Ranking Benefit Despite What Google Says
- Google’s Cutts: We Don’t Ban Sites Critical Of Google, But Here Is Why We Do Penalize Sites…
- Google: Guest Blogging For Links? You Better Nofollow Those Links
- Google: PageRank Dilution Through A 301 Redirect Is A Myth
- Google’s Matt Cutts: Holding A Patent Doesn’t Mean We Use That Patent In Search Quality
- Q&A With Google’s Matt Cutts On What To Do If You Get A Manual Penalty
- The Top Five SEO Mistakes According To Google’s Matt Cutts
- Google: Adding Too Many Pages Too Quickly May Flag A Site To Be Reviewed Manually
- Google’s Matt Cutts: Don’t Be The Sucker That Buys The Spammy Domain
- Google Publishes Its Search Quality Rating Guidelines For First Time