The search algorithm of Google is changed up to 500-600 times every year and there is nothing new in it. But in recent past Google has grown more conscious for the users and have launched few of the major changes in its webmaster rules and search engine algorithm. Since the beginning of 2012 major updates like Google Panda update, Penguin update have been launched which had huge impact on search engine queries. Numerous websites were affected by all these updates.
Google seems to be in a rush to make it’s SERPs free of irrelevant website results and make it perfect for users to make it best usable for Google users. For this purpose it has increased the frequency of launching the updates. In the last of September and the first week of October alone it came up with 4 new updates. Here is a brief for all the updates.
This year’s first major algorithm update was named Google Panda and on 27th September it’s 20th update was released by Google. There was no prior information from Google about this update being released.
Unlike many other updates of Google Panda this update isn’t just a data refresh but it is an algorithm update as mentioned by Google. This update would be creating a huge impact on search engine results because about 2.4% of English queries are affected to a degree that regular user might notice it according to Google.
Yes, that’s right Google rolled out another major update the very next day it released Panda update 20. This update was named EMD which would affect the domains which are exactly matched with the queries which are searched for. In other words EMD are the domains which are exactly same as the keywords used on that website.
According to Matt Cutts, head of Google web spam fighting team announced this update’s release saying that Google will be rolling out a ‘small’ algorithm change which will ‘reduce low-quality exact-match domains’ from showing up very high in search results.
He also said that this update will impact 0.6% of English queries. Further adding that this update was completely unrelated with the major updates Panda and Penguin.
Exact match domains mean domains that exactly match the search query. But this doesn’t mean that all sites using it’s keywords in the URL are doomed. This update is bound to target low quality sites which would be getting rankings just on the basis of exact-matching.
The original Google Penguin update which was aimed at fighting web spam was the 2nd big algorithm update after Google Panda update. It’s 3rd update was released on 5th October, 2012 after Matt Cutts announced its launching on twitter saying that Google was launching the latest ‘data refresh’ of its Penguin algorithm that would be affecting search across multiple languages.
A total of 0.3% English search queries were affected by this update. In other languages the impact was 0.4% in Spanish queries, 0.3% in Italian queries and 0.4% of French queries.
Google’s Page Layout filter which was released in January which focused on providing quality content to visitors of the websites. It is often called ‘Top Heavy’ update. A refresh to this update is Top Heavy 2 which according to Matt Cutts affected 0.7% of English queries.
Thus the sites which were filled with numerous ads for monetizing purpose and provided very less relevant content for the users were affected by this update. The content should be easily available for all the users with few of the ads on the webpage as directed by Google webmaster rules.
To recover from the effect of this update one does not need to remove all the ads from the website. One needs to optimize these ads properly. More than 25% of the area above the fold area should not be allocated for the ads. Apart from this the content which is used should improve the user experience.
After making necessary changes check the website on Google’s Browser Size tool to know how it looks in different screen resolutions.
Looking at the updates Google is coming up within past few weeks it is quite clear that any of the website which are focusing to gain rankings or traffic by doing activities which would harm the user-experience is surely going to be penalized.