Google Maths and How They May be Affecting Your Website 2013
As mentioned in previous posts, Google has gone crackers (in our opinion) with algorithm (maths for rankings) changes in the past 24 months. We have seen Panda, Penguin and back to Panda. A lot of the changes are minor, and realistically do not affect the search engine rankings at all.
However, there are a number of major ones which have “hit” most sites Worldwide. These are mainly concerned with spam, quality and authority – as Google always has been to be fair. What is different in the past couple of updates and patents is that the onus was on quality off-page more than on, but Google appear to be swaying toward on-page content – not in terms of number of pages but more in terms of the rich nature and flow of the site content. This will present problems to a number of sites, and equally our experience tells us that the typical website viewer “buys” with their eyes and the old adage of “a picture says a thousand words” rings true. However, Google (and the other 2 main engines) require text in ration with the pictures, and in relation to your competitors’ sites.
It remains to be seen what will happen in this. Quality and authority will always stay at the forefront of Google’s attention when calculating rankings, but as we do not always follow immediately the dictated path we are given, we tend to watch and experiment for changes going the other way in a short time frame. We know Google is not our friend, and their main driver is actually a steer toward Adwords – something we do not see as a long term fix for conversions to your site.
Anyway, what we have created here is a bullet list of latest changes, with links to other professional and trusted SEO sites, in order to inform both our existing clients and people who may be experiencing problems with their sites without explanation or understanding – either themselves or with their chosen agency.
Penguin 2.0 (#4) — May 22, 2013
After months of speculation bordering on hype, the 4th Penguin update (dubbed “2.0” by Google) arrived with only moderate impact. The exact nature of the changes were unclear, but some evidence suggested that Penguin 2.0 was more finely targeted to the page level. Penguin 4, With Penguin 2.0 Generation Spam-Fighting, Is Now Live (SEL) Penguin 2.0/4 – Were You Jarred and/or Jolted? (SEOmoz)
Domain Crowding — May 21, 2013
Google released an update to control domain crowding/diversity deep in the SERPs (pages 2+). The timing was unclear, but it seemed to roll out just prior to Penguin 2.0 in the US and possibly the same day internationally. Google Domain Crowding Update: May 2013 (High Position) Google Domain Clustering Update (Justin Briggs)
“Phantom” — May 9, 2013
In the period around May 9th, there were many reports of an algorithm update (also verified by high MozCast activity). The exact nature of this update was unknown, but many sites reported significant traffic loss. A Google Update Is Happening (Google: Nothing To Announce Now) (SER) SEO Findings From Google’s Phantom Update (GSQi)
Panda #25 — March 14, 2013
Matt Cutts pre-announced a Panda update at SMX West, and suggested it would be the last update before Panda was integrated into the core algorithm. The exact date was unconfirmed, but MozCast data suggests 3/13-3/14. Google’s Final Manual Panda Refresh Here? #25 (SER) Google Panda Update 25 Seems To Have Hit (SEL)
Panda #24 — January 22, 2013
Google announced its first official update of 2013, claiming 1.2% of queries affected. This did not seem related to talk of an update around 1/17-18 (which Google did not confirm). Google Announces 24th Panda Refresh; Not Related To January 17th (SER) Google Panda Update Version #24; 1.2% Of Search Queries Impacted (SEL)