A regularly updated blog post to help you keep track of the frequent changes to the Google Algorithm

Search Engine Optimization

Search Engine Optimization

In the world of Search Engine Optimization (SEO), it is really important to stay updated with the Google algorithm. Search ranking fluctuation is one of the main reasons for the drop in organic traffic of websites. Most webmasters and SEO professionals find it difficult to pinpoint the exact reason for a drop in search engine rankings of the website. The reason for this is that they are not up-to-date with the constant algorithm changes. If SEO is done blindly, it will never result in the website always staying on top of the search engine results. SEO strategies should be changed according to the Google algorithm updates.

2012 was a year of many changes in the Google algorithm. Google improved their search results with new algorithms and rolled out an updated version of the Panda algorithm.

If you missed checking the Google algorithm updates that happened in 2012, don’t worry! Because in this blog post, I am going to discuss the algorithm updates that have taken place till August 2012. So if you have noticed a drop in the search engine rankings or traffic of your website, just check if it has occurred around any of these dates. If it has, then maybe the drop is due to a Google algorithm update; and you have an opportunity to resolve the issue by taking the necessary steps.

January 5th, 2012 Google announced 30 search quality highlights in December 2011 (with codenames). They blogged about these 30 codenames in January. You can read details on their official blog.

Megasitelinks, Image Search Improvements, and Better Byline Dates made for the biggest SEO news in January.

January 10th, 2012 Google announced that they will show G+ social data and profiles in search results. They also added a new button to shut off personalization. You can check this video posted by Google on their official YouTube channel. A detailed explanation on search, plus your world can be read on the Google blog.
January 18th, 2012 There were rumors in many forums that Google has updated Panda 3.2. However, no one was sure about this. Later, on 25th January 2012, there was a confirmed report on Google panda 3.2.
January 19th, 2012 Google updated their page layout algorithm which penalized websites with too much ad space. This penalty was not lifted soon. Google confirmed that the impact was less than 1% of search. You can read the Officially declared Page Layout algorithm improvement here.
February 3rd, 2012 17 new search quality highlights were introduced in February. The focus was more on fresher results, faster auto complete, better spelling, full-page replacement, improved scrolling for Image Search, spelling corrections, etc.
February 27th, 2012 Codename ‘Venice’ was updated. This was a new ranking opportunity for local SEO. Google updated around 40 changes at the end of the month. Google also rolled out Panda 3.3 at the same time.
March 12th, 2012 A search quality meeting was held and the video was posted on the official YouTube channel. They discussed about possible algorithm improvements, especially, ‘Spelling for Long Queries.’
March 23rd, 2012 Google tweeted about rolling out Panda 3.4; which affected 1.6% of search queries.
April 3rd, 2012 In April, Google updated its blog of the search quality highlights posted in March. You can go through the official Google search blog for details.
April 16th, 2012 Google made the mistake of treating some domains as parked domains. There was a discussion in Webmaster World about the drop in ranking due to this error. Later in the day, Matt Cutts (@mattcutts) tweeted that the issue had been fixed.
April 19th, 2012 Panda version 3.5 was updated and Matt Cutts (@mattcutts) tweeted about it.
April 24th, 2012 Google updated one of its biggest algorithms, ‘Penguin.’ They also called it ‘web spam.’ It was more about keyword stuffing to link schemes.
April 27th, 2012 After three of updating ‘Penguin’, Google again updated Panda version 3.6. There was a gap of just eight days between the Panda 3.5 and 3.6 updates.
May 4th, 2012 Google posted on their official Google search blog; the 52 updates that had been carried out in April.
May 16th, 2012 Google introduced the ‘Knowledge Graph.’ This was about finding right thing that you need. Google began to understand queries much better with Knowledge Graph. This was also broadly discussed on Google’s blog. Here’s the introduction to the Knowledge Graph
May 25th, 2012 Penguin 1.1 was updated and Matt Cutts (@mattcutts) tweeted that it had affected <0.1% of English searches.
June 7th, 2012 Google updated its blog about the 39 changes that had been implemented in June.
June 8th, 2012 Google updated Panda version 3.7 and A Googler (@google) tweeted that <1% of search queries were affected.
June 25th, 2012 Google updated Panda version 3.8.  A Googler (@google) tweeted that only 1% of search queries had been affected.
July 19th, 2012 Google had already sent a large number of unnatural link warnings in March and April; but this time Matt Cutts posted on G+. This time Google declared that it was OK to ignore the link warning.
July 24th, 2012 Google updated Panda version 3.9.  A Googler (@google) tweeted that 1% of search queries had been affected.
August 2nd 2012

Webmasters reported about Google Page Rank Update on various forums. You can check these threads on Digital Point and webmaster world.

Now that you have seen the updates till August 2012, I’m sure you understand how important it is to constantly be aware of the changes taking place. These are the sources I turn to for the latest information.

These are the websites I follow to make sure I am always updated on the Google algorithm.

1)      http://insidesearch.blogspot.in

2)      http://www.seomoz.org/blog

3)      http://www.seroundtable.com/

4)      http://search.searchengineland.com/

If constantly checking websites is something you find really tedious, you can also stay updated using Twitter. All you need to do is follow some of the top search engine marketers and other SEO professionals.

Here is a list of tweeple I follow to keep track of what’s up with Google’s algorithm.

1)      Barry Schwartz (‏@rustybrick)

2)      SE Roundtable ‏ (@seroundtable)

3)      SEJournal (@sejournal)

4)      Search Engine Land ‏ (@sengineland)

5)      Matt Cutts ‏ (@mattcutts)

6)      A Googler ‏ (@google)

7)      Danny Sullivan (‏@dannysullivan)

Forums are also ideal sources of news on recent changes in algorithms. Forums also give you a platform to resolve issues. Webmasters help you recover the search engine ranking of your website if it is affected by an algorithm update.

I stay updated by keeping a close watch on these forums.

1)      http://www.cre8asiteforums.com/forums/

2)      http://www.webmasterworld.com/home.htm

And if you don’t want to do any of this at all, just keep visiting this blog. I will constantly be updating this blog post to include every new update to the Google algorithm.

As a digital marketing company, it is important that we constantly stay updated; so that our clients gain as much as possible from their digital marketing strategy. And at Ethinos, we live by the adage that knowledge multiplies when shared. So you can always head back to this post if you want to know the latest updates to the Google algorithm.

Do you keep track of the Google algorithm updates? Which are your trusted information updates? Let’s join forces and ensure that we do our bit to make Search Engine Optimization a little simpler.

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