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2013 Google Updates

google updates

Unnamed Update — November 14, 2013

Though Google did not confirm any update roll out, some of the major flux-tracking tools detected shifts in Google search results on November 14. While webmaster chatter appeared pretty ordinary MozCast reported a substantial one-day temperature spike of 102 degrees. This unusual activity co-occurred with reports of DNS problems in Google Webmaster Tools which suggested a possible bug behind those ranking fluctuations. There was no clear pattern and, the reason and nature of change in rankings remained unclear.

Penguin 2.1 (#5) — October 4, 2013

Google announced another Penguin update after a gap of four and a half months – fifth since the first Penguin update in April 2012. Google called it Penguin 2.1 as it was a somewhat improved version of the second-generation technology Penguin 2. Matt Cutts publicized the update launch on Twitter which noticeably affected near about 1% of searches. This moderate- impact update had mixed reactions where some recovered from previous Penguin penalties; some online businesses got completely destroyed. Some businesses reported no impact at all.

Hummingbird — August 20, 2013

Google announced a new search algorithm on September 26 which it claimed to roll out a month earlier. The exact date for roll out was unclear but checking MozCast data – a major spike on August 20 suggested some Google update. It was a major algorithm change that helped in returning better search results by taking into account the meaning of the query rather than particular words. The meaning technology controlled changes to semantic search and Knowledge Graph facts across Internet. The update was named “Hummingbird” for being precise and fast sorting through the information contained in billions of web pages.

In-depth Articles — August 6, 2013

Google officially introduced a new feature that helps users find in-depth articles in the “In- depth articles” block in the left-hand column of the SERPs. This set of three results showed high quality, long-form content typically for broad topics. However, the way these in-depth articles appeared and the position on the SERP varied with no set pattern. According to MozCast, the “in-depth articles” block appeared for approximately 3.5% of queries tracked by MozCast 10K engine. Google published a set of recommendations to get listed for “in-depth articles” block while following the Google webmaster guidelines.

Unnamed Update — July 26, 2013

Although there was no confirmation of any Google update, there were convincing signs of an update according to some of the SERP monitoring tools. MozCast captured significantly high temperature spike (105° F) on Friday (July 26) surrounded by cooler days while other tools like SERPs.com, SERP Metrics, and Algoroo showed similar spikes all over the weekend. The spike in temperature had an adverse effect on all industry categories to some degree.

Knowledge Graph Expansion — July 19, 2013

A major Google update was launched on July 19th (KG) entries for more than a quarter of all searches. According to MozCast data set, queries showing KG entries expanded by more than half from 17.8% to 26.7% i.e. a jump of +50.4%. The expansion in searches with KG entry remained stable (close to 27%) in the later part of July 2013 illustrating the fact that the change is an official update and not just one of the experiments by Google. It came out clearly that mostly brand-related queries started showing KG entries while some ambiguous queries were dependent on the context of #1 organic search result for the KG entry.

Panda Recovery — July 18, 2013

While some chatter was noticed in the major forums about some shuffle in Google search rankings, Google confirmed rolling out of a new Panda update. Google had been talking about “softening” Panda updates so that for sites that were in the “gray area” can be judged for site quality through some additional signals. The new update thus integrated new signals making it more finely targeted. Large number of folks claimed recoveries who were previously hit by the Panda algorithm changes.

Multi-Week Update — June 27, 2013

In reply to a tweet about payday loan spam, Matt Cutts revealed about a “multi-week” rollout i.e. an update being launched over multiple weeks. According to MozCast data, high rankings volatility was monitored during the period from June 21st to the “week after July 4th” – mountaining on June 27th to as high as 120°. The reason behind the overall instability during the period between multi-week update and Panda dance update remained unclear, but it showed up as some changes were made and later rolled back while doing large-scale testing of algorithm tweaks by Google.

Panda Dance — June 11, 2013

Google Matt Cutts announced at SMX Advanced that Google Panda algorithm was being updated monthly and rolled out over a period of 10 days or so right through the month. Practically, this was not an update but an important elucidation to the community. Like Google Dance, this was dubbed as Panda Dance as Google started pushing out updates on a monthly basis impacting SERPs for over 10 of 30 days – same as how Google updates were previously pushed out and the rankings dance was seen for days in SERPs. In other words, Panda updates were now rolling updates, that were pushed out every month on a day and the effect was then pushed out slowing over next 10 days or so.

Payday Loan" Update — June 11, 2013

Google’s Matt Cutts officially rolled out a new ranking algorithm update to target spam queries in some traditionally spammy niches including payday loans, pornography and others. The update was launched on a global level impacting 0.3% of U.S. queries, and up to 4% of Turkish queries typically known for higher spam results. The new update cracked down niches involved in intense link building and spam schemes, which are often illegal as well. The update started on 11 June and was being a versatile rollout, became fully live over a period of 1-2 months.

Penguin 2.0 (#4) — May 22, 2013

The conjectures about Penguin Update 4 ended as Google rolled out the new algorithm change - internally called “Penguin 2.0” by Google. After the original Penguin update (Penguin Update 1) in April 2012, this was the second major Penguin update; Penguin Update 2 and 3 were data refresh. According to Google, 2.3% of English queries in U.S. were affected up to a noticeable level. The update was rolled out in other languages as well but the extent of change varied language to language based on the level of webspam. The update impact was moderate, and not much significant as hyped by Google before the launch. Google also gave link to a spam report form to submit feedback for spammy sites possibly missed by the new update.

Domain Crowding — May 21, 2013

Though unclear about that exact roll out timing, Google did release an update to tackle domain crowding/diversity while going deeper into Google SERPs. Google leveraged sitelinks feature to endorse diversity of domains on top search result pages while also issued a filter that helped curtailing content from already seen domains. While performing a “site:” search against a domain, it now truncated at 3 pages and showed other domains beyond that. However, with “filter=” parameter disabled (filter=0), SERPs showed the domain results on further pages as well.

Phantom" — May 9, 2013

Blogs and forums started buzzing with possible launch of some significant Google algorithm update in the early May. The specifics were indeterminate but many sites suffered high ranking and traffic fluctuation. The Phantom update was speculated to target a possible combination of unnatural links (spammy links, excessive cross-linking etc.) and content spam (scraping content). Some presumed the update as pre-Penguin 2.0 since Matt Cutts previously announced roll out of bigger and nastier Penguin 2.0 within some weeks.

Panda #25 — March 14, 2013

According to what Matt Cutts said at SMX West, a new but perhaps the very last manual Panda refresh would be live soon. Google would no longer confirm refreshes or updates roll out as the future Google Panda would be more integrated into the main index and thus most likely less noticeable. It also implied that the Panda updates would be more “rolling updates” and the changes would be small and probably more frequent. The exact date of Panda update 25 roll out remained unconfirmed by Google, however industry expert believed it rolled out somewhere around March 13 or 14.

Panda #24 — January 22, 2013

After some noteworthy signs of an update on January 17 - which Google denied - Google pushed out its first official Panda update (version 24) of 2013 on January 22 via Twitter. Google claimed the new update to impact 1.2% of queries in English language as compared to 1.3% of queries by Panda update 23.

2012 Google Updates

Panda #23 — December 21, 2012

Google confirmed the new Panda refresh it rolled out just before the Christmas holidays. Impacting almost 1.3% of English queries to a degree a regular user would notice, Panda update version 23 had comparatively higher impact than Panda update version 21 and 22. This came as a surprise update as nobody was expecting a new refresh just before Christmas holidays.

Knowledge Graph Expansion — December 4, 2012

Google announced availability of Knowledge Graph functionality in various new languages including Italian, French, Japanese, Russian, German and Portuguese (previously available only in English). Google described the utility expansion as “more than just translation” while talking about the challenge to internationalize the Knowledge Graph and assist users in digging up new information more quickly and effortlessly as per the language and country. Google enlightened users that it encompassed around three times as many queries worldwide as when they first launched the Knowledge Graph.

Panda #22 — November 21, 2012

Google did not publicly announced the roll out of the new Panda update i.e. Panda Update 22 that it pushed out on November 21. A few industry experts later confirmed the roll out on November 30 after affirmation from Google. Google denied rolling out any update but experts claimed to discern some shifting in Google search results on November 20. Belatedly, Google informed that 0.8% of English queries were noticeably affected by the update.

Panda #21 — November 5, 2012

About five-plus weeks after Panda 20, Google pushed out Panda Update 21 which officially impacted 1.1% of English queries in the U.S. while nearly 0.4% of queries noticeable to any regular user. The update was not announced before the roll out started, but almost on November 7 by a Googler via Twitter.

Page Layout #2 — October 9, 2012

Google launched the first ever official update to the Page Layout algorithm which noticeably affected 0.7% of English queries. Though it was the second confirmed refresh, industry experts claimed there were refreshes in past but not confirmed by Google. Sites that made recommended changes after the original Page Layout algorithm were potentially freed while others that had “Top Heavy” with ads were hit by the latest update. Google provided no clue of how the algorithm had transformed since the launch of the primary update in January.

Penguin #3 — October 5, 2012

Google’s Matt Cutts announced a minor Penguin data refresh using Twitter which impacted 0.3% of English queries and 0.4% of non-English queries. Following the comparatively simpler Panda new numbering scheme, the update was dubbed as Penguin 3 (third Penguin release). Most people were anticipating something loud and shocking with the next release after Penguin 2, although the update that came out was very moderate.

August/September 65-Pack — October 4, 2012

Google publicized the batch of 65 search quality changes for August and September in the first week of October. It was the second time when Google was publishing the search highlights bimonthly. The highlights of the list included Panda updates, improvements in Knowledge Graph, ranking changes, 7-listing SERP display, updates to freshness algorithm and “page quality” calculation.

Exact-Match Domain (EMD) Update — September 27, 2012

Google’s Matt Cutts twitted about an upcoming algorithm change that would impact exact-match domains with low quality content. This change in handling EMDs impacted 0.6% of English queries. However, Google explained the fact that EMD update did not mean to penalize all sites that wish to rank high for keywords present in their domain names, albeit seek out sites with substandard content ranking high merely because of exact matching of the keyword in the domain name. According to SEOmoz data set of 1000 SERPs, 41 exact-match domains slipped out of Top 10 results, however, the extent of the plunge displayed no comprehensible pattern.

Panda #20 — September 27, 2012

Subsequent to the series of Panda data refreshes in earlier months, Google finally rolled out a reasonably major Panda algorithm update which impacted 2.4% and 0.5% of English and non-English queries respectively. The Panda update finished full roll out in some 3-4 days or so. As the update 3.X number series got anomalous after 3.9.1 and 3.9.2 updates, the industry experts decided naming the updates in the chronological order of their roll out. This was named Panda #20, being 20th update in order since first Panda update. The Panda update overlapped with the EMD update causing confusion among keyword based domains if the traffic loss was Panda or EMD related.

Panda 3.9.2 (#19) — September 18, 2012

Google pushed out a new Panda refresh with a moderate ranking flux unlike any major algorithm change. Being just a refresh affecting less than 0.7% of queries, it was dubbed as Panda 3.9.2 – though the related community had been expecting something that could be called Panda 4.0, and move to a new number series.

Panda 3.9.1 (#18) — August 20, 2012

Around a month after Panda 3.9, Google confirmed pushing out a “minor” Panda data refresh which noticeably affected nearly 1% of search queries. To continue giving numbers to new updates in Panda 3.0 series, the new refresh was nicknamed Panda 3.9.1. A few pandalized sites reported recovery of traffic after this data refresh. Google ensured smoother and steadier Panda updates down the line.

7-Result SERPs — August 14, 2012

“7 Is the New 10?” This phrase went viral as Google made a noteworthy change from displaying the traditional 10-listing SERP to showing 7-listing SERP. For Around 18% (according to SEOmoz) of keywords tracked, SERP showed exactly 7 listings. Search terms that displayed sitelinks for the #1 ranking site were found to display 7 results in the SERP. With loads of discussions on killing search diversity in SERPs, Google announced that when the query term clearly defines the interest of user in a particular site or brand, Google does display multiple listings from a single site.

DMCA Penalty — August 10, 2012

Google announced a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) Penalty against copyright infringement according to which Google would penalize sites with high number of copyright removal notices. From one week after the announcement of the penalty, Google might start downranking the sites suspected of violating copyright laws considering the count of DMCA “takedown” requests against the site. However, Google cleared the fact that while some sites might experience a variation in ranking; no pages would be removed from the search results until valid copyright removal notice is acknowledged from the rights owner.

June/July 86-Pack — August 10, 2012

Google added one mega-post of 86 search quality highlights to the monthly updates pack series. After skipping announcement of June search improvements, Google published it as a whole for June and July combined. The major highlights included Site Clustering (enhanced system for clustering web results), improved ranking for trusted sources, a new and improved ranking function, changes to how sitelinks work and improvements to universal search results display. Panda data and algorithm refreshes also formed a good part of the search improvements list.

Panda 3.9 (#17) — July 24, 2012

Almost after a period of 30 days (since Panda 3.8), Google announced another data refresh for Google Panda algorithm which impacted nearly ~1% of search results. From a refresh’s perspective, the impact was quiet considerable. The refresh resulted in visible flux for some days but no noticeable fluctuation occurred on a single day.

Link Warnings — July 19, 2012

Many public forums saw multiple threads regarding sending out of unnatural link notifications by Google to tons of webmasters via Google Webmasters Tools in July 2012. These notifications warned publishers to check for and remove unnatural links pointing to the site. However, the intent of sending these notifications remained unclear; if Google was actually penalizing or just informing of possible negative actions in future. The community got into greater confusion when Google announced that these warning notifications are not something to get worried about and if the site’s traffic did not see a plunge, then the warning notification could be apparently ignored.

Panda 3.8 (#16) — June 25, 2012

In the series of quick Panda updates, Google confirmed roll out of yet another Google Panda Update on Twitter. However, Google also confirmed that it was a data refresh, and no changes were made to the algorithm signals. In other words, the algorithm was run again through the index so that further actions could be taken on sites previously hit or left by the Panda update. This data refresh visibly impacted much smaller (~1%) number of queries worldwide as compared to Panda 3.7.

Panda 3.7 (#15) — June 8, 2012

After some perceptible shuffling in search results, Google confirmed about the Panda data refresh roll out. The new update, Panda 3.7 made a noticeable effect on less than 1% of search queries in the U.S. and 1% worldwide. However, the ranking fluctuation data suggested that Panda 3.7 had a higher impact than previous Panda updates rolled out in April (Panda 3.5, 3.6).

May 39-Pack — June 7, 2012

Google announced the May pack of search quality highlights with 39 search improvements. The major highlights included better detection of link schemes, Penguin improvements, changes to title rewriting, better title generation systems, fresher web results, new simplification to freshness algorithms, autocomplete predictions as “Related searches” and more Google+ integration.

Penguin 1.1 (#2) — May 25, 2012

Almost a month after the launch of webspam-fighting Penguin algorithm, Google released its first data update, Penguin 2. Clearly, much like Panda, Penguin too was processed outside of the main index. The impact was minor and affected less than 0.1% of English-language searches. After the update was live, a lot of people started wondering if they had to start all over again if they still failed to recover.

Knowledge Graph — May 16, 2012

Taking a major step towards intelligent searching, Google announced the “Knowledge Graph” feature that understood real-world entities and their relationships, and not just search for results based on raw keywords. With more than 500 million objects and 3.5 billion facts about the object-relationships, such a technology provided better understanding of the intent of the search term, helping in providing enhanced answers and results. The Knowledge Graph improved Google Search by eliminating ambiguity, providing the finest summary and deeper unexpected result discoveries. The “knowledge panels” appear on the right side of the traditional search results for certain (not all) query terms related to people, places, and things.

April 52-Pack — May 4, 2012

As expected, Google announced April’s list of 52 search quality updates on the first Friday of May. Though April was a SEO crazy month that saw Panda updates (3.5 and 3.6 within 8-day span), Penguin algorithm update and the parked domain bug, these were not the only changes that Google talked about in its 52 search improvements list. Other highlights included larger base index size (up to 15%), introduction of new indexing tier, improved search terms scoring, better keyword stuffing classifier, more authoritative results, more diverse set of domains in SERPs, sitelinks and “megasitelinks” updates, and improved pagination handling.

Panda 3.6 (#14) — April 27, 2012

Within 10 days of the launch of Panda 3.5, Google rolled out another “unusual” Panda update, which affected relatively small number of sites. The update was “unusual” due to the fact that generally Google drive out Panda refresh every 6 weeks or so, but it came out just about a week after the previous refresh. Without clearing anything much about the new update refresh, Google just stated the same working-towards-returning-high-quality-sites statement.

Penguin — April 24, 2012

Google launched the “webspam algorithm change”, later dubbed as “Penguin”, globally with an aim to reduce webspam by penalizing pages caught up in spamming Google using black hat SEO techniques. Pages engaged in bad linking practices, keyword stuffing, cloaking or anything that violated Google’s quality guidelines were hit hard. A noticeable impact of 3.1% of English queries and 3% of German, Chinese, and Arabic queries was seen. How to Recover: Declaring Penguin “a success”, Google advised Penguin victims to correct spam activities considering the warnings messages received through Google Webmaster Central. If you have got no such warning flags, correct every spam-like thing (bad linking practices, keyword stuffing, cloaking etc.) you think you did, and wait for the next Penguin update for reconsideration. Google said, the page will regain lost traffic naturally if the spam was cleaned up after the algorithm change. Being an algorithmic change, and not a manual penalty, reconsideration requests from webmasters couldn't be entertained.

Panda 3.5 (#13) — April 19, 2012

Amidst of over optimization rumours and the huge parked domain bug, Google rolled out a fairly routine Google Panda update, version 3.5. The impact was small and didn’t generate much noticeable changes. Sticking to the pledge of returning the superior quality websites in SERPs, Google said, it is one of more than 500 changes they make in the current year.

Parked Domain Bug — April 16, 2012

A lot of hustle and bustle was noted in various search forums when a lot of websites reported sudden ranking shuffles. Initially mistaken as the “over-optimization penalty”, Google admitted that this is an accidental change as a result of a data error which erroneously classified some websites as parked domains and brought search rankings down in Google SERPs. Parked domain is a registered domain with no content, or may be one that lacks content other than advertisements. Matt Cutts apologized informing the bug had been fixed and will be taken care of in future.

March 50-Pack — April 3, 2012

Continuing the monthly trend, Google added another installment of 50 search update highlights for March in the first week of April. The search quality updates take account of better anchor text processing, higher image search relevance, improved handling of indexing symbols, enhanced navigational query results, better handling of queries with local intent, more precise short answers and data freshness. Google also gave confirmation about the high quality algorithm update Panda 3.4.

Panda 3.4 (#12) — March 23, 2012

Another Panda update was rolled out on March 23 from the Google tank; this time via Twitter. Reportedly, a Googler tweeted about the ongoing Panda refresh roll out, which visibly had an effect on nearly 1.6% of search queries. The specifics about the update remained unclear as Google supplied no substantial information beyond the 140 characters tweet.

Search Quality Video — March 12, 2012

Google published a short video captured during the search quality meeting, where the meeting participants who connected from remote offices around the world, discussed the proposed algorithm changes in order to make the search process even more transparent. Clearly, it was no algorithm update but an inside look to share the contemplation and analysis behind each decision made. The video provided a lot of information on the thought process and decision-making Google undergo before finalizing the smallest tweaks in the search mechanism.

Panda 3.3 (#11) — February 27, 2012

On the very same day after announcing February 40-pack of search tweaks, Google confirmed latest Panda-related change, Panda 3.3. The new change was illustrated as another “data refresh” (not a change in ranking signals) like the previous Panda 3.2 and thus, relatively minor. The change refreshed the Google Panda data and knocked down some sites while boosted the traffic close to pre-Panda levels for many others. The importance of Panda was clear to the search market community as it completed 1-year anniversary; a distinctive achievement for any named update in the Google updates history.

February 40-Pack (2) — February 27, 2012

Google published another pack of search improvements before the end of February with 40 new changes. While continuously striving for an improved high quality search algorithm, Google rolled out updates covering areas like related searches, sitelinks, image-search, freshness, indexing, autocomplete, UI elements, local search, SafeSearch and a Panda Update. Till then, it was the most number of changes made by Google in a single month.

Venice — February 27, 2012

Google implemented another algorithm change, code name “Venice”, that gave localized (confined to a smaller area) organic search results on broad search queries. This update focused to improve ranking for local search result and integrated local data more tightly. Changing the location to the user’s city helped detecting more reliable results.

February 17-Pack — February 3, 2012

Google pushed out the January search update pack consisting of 17 search tweaks in the first week of February. Google reported of constantly evolving and making the search more transparent by introducing new changes to the algorithm. With a variety of minor changes aiming for fresher results, improved data detection, faster predicted queries (autocomplete), better spelling corrections (autocomplete) and more responsive news blending in search results, Google stressed on more improved integration of Panda algorithm into the system after a small data refresh for Panda.

Ads Above The Fold — January 19, 2012

Google’s Page Layout algorithm (also called “Top Heavy” by SEOs) was aimed to penalize websites that failed to deliver optimal user experience by populating the pages with advertisements to an excessive degree in the directly visible area of a website, making it hard for the user to discover the original relevant content. The update didn’t mean to impinge on all websites that place “ads-above-the-fold” but sites that put excessive blocks of ads on the screen as soon as the website loads on the screen. Google reported, the change affected less than 1% of searches and labeled it as one of the over 500 improvements to be rolled out in 2012. How to Recover: If you were hit by the update, reconsider how the page space above-the-fold is used and whether the content (for which the user came to the website) is easily visible, providing an overall optimal visiting experience.

Panda 3.2 (#10) — January 18, 2012

Google validated a basic data refresh of the Panda algorithm, labeled it as a minor update with no fresh ranking signals, and called it Google Panda 3.2 update. Like in case of previous Panda update changes, several new sites were pandalized and lost rankings, while some reported an increase in traffic to pre-Panda levels. The update was pushed out after a long gap (previous Panda update in November, 2011) and thus, did not seem to match the “Panda Flux” scheme of recurrent data updates.

Search + Your World — January 10, 2012

With the “Search Plus Your World” update, the concept of personalization was taken to a whole new level. Google boosted Google+ social data and user profiles boldly in search results. The rich personal content shared on the web by someone you follow or personally with you was included in the search with new features. However, other social media like Facebook and Twitter were not given the due respect in the search results which certainly compromised the relevancy of the results in some cases. Such a change forced search marketers’ community to be on Google+ or compromise a chance to top in those sidebar results.

January 30-Pack — January 5, 2012

Google proclaimed another set of 30 tweaks carried out in December to the monthly recap series. In addition to the previous trend, Google started giving out internal codenames to the improvements to make the changes easy to remember and future reference. The “January 30-pack” announced improvements for selecting sitelinks, image search (link to high quality sites), updated byline dates, “soft 404” detection, related query upgrade, and more rich snippets to name a few. With such updates, fine line between “algorithm update” and a “feature” got more confusing and unclear.

2011 Google Updates

December 10-Pack — December 1, 2011

Google rolled out the second 10-pack of search improvements and assured users of regular monthly updates regarding small and noticeable changes they formulate to make search even more transparent. Google further added that they made over 500 improvements in the year and through such posts they shared changes for which a single blog post would have been not required. Significant updates among the new changes included detection of parked domains, detection of “original” content among apparently similar posts, not allowing single domain to populate much of the top results, related query refinements, bigger and fresher results for blog and image search.

Panda 3.1 (#9) — November 18, 2011

As per Google’s tweet on October 5 of 2011, Google SERPs experienced “Panda Flux” changes and frequent updates for some good period of time. Google further tweeted about rolling out of another Panda update, comparatively minor, which affected less than 1% of all searches. The new algorithm update pushed out on November 18 was named 3.1 by some industry analysts even though there was no official 3.0.

10-Pack of Updates — November 14, 2011

Google’s Matt Cutts gave out a list of 10 recently updated algorithm changes, mostly small updates, to provide a more transparent insight to the people into the changes (more than 500) Google made in that year. The idea behind this unusual revelation was sharing the flavour of how Google communicates algorithmic changes. The “10-pack of updates” described slight algorithmic changes in snippets and page titles, autocomplete and translation changes and a few ranking changes.

Freshness Update — November 3, 2011

A new algorithm change that rewarded “freshness” of the content was rolled out by Google in the early November of 2011. The update hit the news when Google announced the update will impact more or less 35% of searches (6-10% searches saw noticeable impacts, according to the language and search domain used). As per the search query - be it any current event or hot subject, any regularly recurring events or frequent updates about anything people follow - the algorithm made a distinction among the different types of searches and level of freshness desired to deliver most relevant and recent results.

Query Encryption — October 18, 2011

In order to protect personalized search results, Google announced a new change where they encrypted search queries. The inbound marketing community was highly troubled as the organic keyword referral data started returning “(not provided)” keywords and the analysts were no longer able to recognize which of the keywords brought the traffic to the website from the known source. As per Google, these “(not provided)” keywords were encrypted to protect user privacy through a security support encryption protocol SSL.

Panda "Flux" (#8) — October 5, 2011

Initially called Panda 2.5, the update was later called Panda 3.0 after confirmation from Google. As per tweets from Matt Cutts, Google notified of some Panda-related flux in the coming weeks, however, with relatively lesser impacts (~2%) than previous updates. Reportedly, Panda-related flux was experienced on October 3, October 13 and November 18.

Panda 2.5 (#7) — September 28, 2011

Google authenticated about the latest Panda update iteration being live and called it Panda 2.5. The changes remained unclear as Google did not share any specifics, sticking to its default statement regarding iterating Panda algorithm to return high-quality sites into top results. According to Searchmetrics, some big brands like The Next Web, Technorati, The Today Show, Business Wire and PR Newswire were among the large-scale losers to the change.

516 Algo Updates — September 21, 2011

Google made an incredible disclosure when the Executive Chairman, Eric Schmidt, addressed Congress that Google has made 516 big and small algorithmic changes to improve the quality of search results in 2010. Surprisingly from over 13,000 precision evaluations conducted, 516 changes were ultimately rolled out and most of them were too small to be perceptible to normal users. Google stated the goal behind vigorous testing lies in implementing only the changes that benefit the users.

Pagination Elements — September 15, 2011

Google launched rel=”next” and rel=”prev” attributes to tackle pagination issues like crawl and duplication tribulations. The new elements enabled content owners to indicate relationship between components URLs of a paginated series. Moreover, Google evolved detection and clustering of components of a series with a view-all page.

Expanded Sitelinks — August 16, 2011

With the aim to make it easier and faster to get the information one needs, Google launched “expanded sitelinks” with several improvements. The new sitelinks were doubled in number (4 to 8, and further to 12) and rearranged into columns to improve readability. However, the number of sitelinks shown were not fixed and related itself more for brand queries. The “expanded sitelinks” included a title, URL and one line snippet text – similar to the organic results. The sitelink ranking was combined with regular result ranking resulting in a better organized search results page.

Panda 2.4 (#6) — August 12, 2011

Google announced yet another Panda ranking change by rolling out algorithmic search improvements globally for all available languages, except Chinese, Japanese and Korean. Previously, Google rolled out update that only impacted English language indices around the world. According to statistics from Google, this change impacted 6-9% of queries against 12% of queries at the time of the original US English launch. The users worldwide gave positive responses to the change in regard of improved search quality.

Panda 2.3 (#5) — July 23, 2011

Google continued to iterate on Panda filter aiming to provide more relevant high-quality sites to users against each search query. Being a minor algorithmic update, the new update was referred as Panda 2.3.The specifics of were unclear however Google conveyed integration of new factors that would help discriminate higher and lower value sites better.

Google+ — June 28, 2011

In order to vie against the rising popularity of Facebook, the search giant launched its most aggressive social product yet - Google+. Being tightly integrated into other Google products like Gmail, Google+ made a grand start off accumulating over 10 million user profiles in just two weeks. The new social management structure revolved around circles which allowed users share significant content within organized groups. Later, the Google’s +1 button was also integrated with Google+, allowing users to show appreciation to created or shared content.

Panda 2.2 (#4) — June 21, 2011

Google confirmed a further update to Panda 1.0 filter greeting it officially as Panda version 2.2. While a lot of sites regained traffic, many were hit for the first time after the release of Panda 2.2 update. The new update was centered at improving scraper detection and penalizing sites that re-publish content ending up having a higher rank than the original source of content. Panda updates reminded people of early “Google Dance” updates as Panda was updated on a regular basis, as opposed to in real time.

Schema.org — June 2, 2011

Google, Bing and Yahoo in agreement announced an innovative scheme in support of a common terminology for structured mark up on web pages documented at schema.org. In addition to previous “schemas” (like Google’s rich snippets), new “schemas” were built to enhance the display of search results. However, Google also used the structured markup to better understand about what search queries a specific page is pertinent for plus detailed business listing info for Google Places.

Panda 2.1 (#3) — May 9, 2011

Relatively a far smaller change than Panda 2, Google named the new update Panda 2.1 rather Panda 3.0. Google did not reveal the exact percentage of queries affected but revealed that it influenced small portion of ranking system.

Panda 2.0 (#2) — April 11, 2011

Google rolled out an algorithmic improvement to Panda (“Farmer”) update to worldwide English language queries. However, weighing against the initial update which impacted 12% of U.S. queries, the new algorithm change impacted only around 2% of U.S. queries. Google included some additional signals like incorporating searcher data about blocked sites for determining more relevant results but clearly referred it as a secondary factor that might be used as a confirmation in some “high confidence situations”.

The +1 Button — March 30, 2011

Google eventually launched the “+1” button, a signal of appreciation, to respond to competition with major social media giants like Facebook and Twitter. At the time of launch, the “+1” button allowed user to “+1” your favourite search results or ads in Google’s SERPs showing your positive reception to that specific organic or paid result within your social circle. The introduction of “+1” helped searchers in getting recommended search results while a potential sign for Google to improve search quality.

Panda/Farmer — February 23, 2011

Google cracked down low quality, thin or scraped content sites by rolling out a new algorithmic update Panda, affecting almost 12% of the US search results. The update targeted content farms having low quality content, sites having higher ad-to-content ratios and other quality issues. Many renowned brands lost SERP ranking dramatically and other higher-quality original content sites seemed to gain ranks as Panda rolled out in several steps over a couple of months. High-quality unique content became just indispensable to attain top ranking.
How to Recover: There is no exact recipe to recover from Panda, but some crucial aspects would help you a better insight into the problem. One major possibility of a Panda penalty is thin/low quality content that adds little or no value to the user. Same goes for duplicate content. Get trusted content from an expert source that provides insightful analysis and has been properly reviewed before publishing. Also, it’s important to check ad-content ratio. The best policy is to look into every aspect of the site from a birds-eye view.

Attribution Update — January 28, 2011

Google rolled out a spam-control update to better reform content attribution by penalizing sites that copy original content from other sites. The idea was to stop scraper sites and offer valuable content to the searchers from original content websites. The update clearly marked the dawn of Panda Updates in the mind of SEO gurus. According to statistics from Google, a little over 2% of queries were affected while an ordinary searcher would not notice much change in search results.

Overstock.com Penalty — January 2011

Overstock, a large retailer known for discount merchandise, faced an awfully visible Google penalty when found indulged in dubious SEO practices for boosting their ranking unnaturally in Google search engine. “.edu” links linking to commercial sites was treated an endeavor to game Google’s ranking as per Google’s policies. Overstock was found responsible for encouraging college and universities’ websites to place links to Overstock pages offering concessions to the students and faculty. JCPenney was another company that dealt with Google penalty for similar bad behavior. Such reckless outbreaks changed Google’s attitude and indicated need for what was offered by Panda update.

For more information regarding how to recover your websites from these Google Updates please Call: +91-9990-999943 / +91-98101-66616