2012 Flashback : SEO and Google Algorithm Changes

Google algorithm changes over the past 12 months have significantly impacted the practice of search engine optimization and even user behavior on the search engines.

  • Reputation and Trust- Since the beginning Google and fellow search engines have been promoting consistent quality and with the changes in effect, Google can now track bad behavior more effectively than before.
  • Penguin - Introduced on April 24, Penguin ensures removal of all artificial and low quality links from websites, irrespective of how old they are. While Penguin does not replace manual reviews, action may yet be taken by Google manually against a website because of untrustworthy links.
  • Panda- Having been updated by Google as many as 13 times in the past 12 months, Panda was designed to push down overly optimized sites or those with very low quality content. With Panda, Google’s search technology is able to identify nearly duplicate content more effectively and recognize pages which offer no real value to its users and push them way down in search result rankings. A typical example of this would be different pages with nearly identical information except for the geographical locations.
  • Rewarding Quality- Google made changes to identify and reward high quality websites, which was seen in the June-July update. This was a very welcome step from Google which seemed to only track and penalize low quality content.
  • Webspam - Matt Cutts announced back in April that the most important algorithm change targeted at Webspam was being launched by Google, a step that would decrease rankings for websites that Google believes to be violating the quality guidelines.
  • Over-Optimization- In March 2012, Matt Cutts, head of Google’s search spam team, announced an update to Googles algorithm that was meant to penalize overly optimized sites, which he called Overly SEO. Sites that throw too many keywords on the page or exchange way too many links, are those that would be penalized, Matt said.
  • Infographic & Guest Blogging Links- While the actual update is unknown, earlier in July, Matt Cutts hinted at infographics links becoming the target of webspam team as they were observed to be abused, with a similar warning being sent out to blogs and guest bloggers. This would mean a win-win situation for white hat blogging but shady blogging may face consequences.
  • Freshness- The Fresher update launched by Google a year ago has impacted 35% of the search results. The much improved algorithm from Google is aimed at identifying recent or recurring events, hot topics, and queries for which the best information changes frequently.
  • AJAX & JavaScript Execution by Spider- Googles announcement that its search spiders can now execute AJAX and JavaScript is targeted toward reading dynamically generated comments and makes it possible for Google to read those links that were previously hidden behind javascript.
  • Automatic URL Canonicalization - The crawl team of Google that does the job of indexing have been doing a great job of canonicalizing where they pick different URLs and combine them together correctly. It helps them identify that they are basically the same page and should be combined. This is a noteworthy innovation from Google.

About Toby Crabtree

Toby Crabtree is the Account Manager for Local Search HQ, a local search marketing firm focused on enhancing the online presence and visibility for small local businesses. Through thorough research of the client's target market and online behavior, social media networking, local mobile search optimization and an integrated marketing campaign, Toby and the team at Local Search HQ has built a reputation for delivery results for its clients since it was founded. Google+

One Response to 2012 Flashback : SEO and Google Algorithm Changes

  1. I don’t agree that Google is making life easier. It’s very difficult to monitor what Google is doing, but yes we can always give effort to our content. Nowadays, we’re forced to innovate and create “unique” content to rank on anything.

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