Latest Google SEO Updates 2015
Google has a long history of famous algorithm updates, search index changes and refreshes. Below are links to some of the most important resources for search marketers:
Google: Panda Update (February 2011)
Google’s Panda Update is a search filter introduced in February 2011 meant to stop sites with poor quality content from working their way into Google’s top search results. Panda is updated from time-to-time. When this happens, sites previously hit may escape, if they’ve made the right changes. Panda may also catch sites that escaped before. A refresh also means “false positives” might get released.
Here are dates of all Panda releases:
- Panda Update 1.0, Feb. 24, 2011 (11.8% of queries; announced; English in US only)
- Panda Update 2.0, April 11, 2011 (2% of queries; announced; rolled out in English internationally)
- Panda Update 3.0, Oct. 19, 2011 (about 2% of queries; belatedly confirmed)
- Panda Update 4.0, May 20, 2014 (7.5% of English queries were affected; confirmed, announced)
- Panda Update 4.1, Sept. 25, 2014 (3-5% of queries were affected; confirmed, announced)
Google: Top Heavy Update (January 2012)
Top Heavy was launched in January 2012 by Google as a means to prevent sites that were “top heavy” with ads from ranking well in its listings. Top Heavy is periodically updated. When a fresh Top Heavy Update happens, sites that have removed excessive ads may regain lost rankings. New sites deemed too “top heavy” may get caught.
Google: Penguin Update (April 2012)
Google launched the Penguin Update in April 2012 to better catch sites deemed to be spamming its search results, in particular those doing so by buying links or obtaining them through link networks designed primarily to boost Google rankings. When a new Penguin Update is released, sites that have taken action to remove bad links (such as through the Google disavow links tool or to remove spam may regain rankings. New sites not previously caught might get trapped by Penguin. “False positives,” sites that were caught by mistake, may escape.
Here are dates of all Penguin releases:
- Penguin 1.0 on April 24, 2012 (impacting ~3.1% of queries)
- Penguin 1.1 on May 26, 2012 (impacting less than 0.1%)
- Penguin 1.2 on October 5, 2012 (impacting ~0.3% of queries)
- Penguin 2.0 on May 22, 2013 (impacting 2.3% of queries)
- Penguin 2.1 on Oct. 4, 2013 (impacting around 1% of queries)
- Penguin 3.0 on October 17, 2014 (impacting around 1% of queries)
Google: Pirate Update (August 2012)
Google’s Pirate Update is a filter introduced in August 2012 designed to prevent sites with many copyright infringement reports, as filed through Google’s DMCA system, from ranking well in Google’s listings. The filter is periodically updated. When this happens, sites previously impacted may escape, if they’ve made the right improvements. The filter may also catch new sites that escaped being caught before, plus it may release “false positives” that were caught.
Google: EMD Update (September 2012)
The EMD Update — for “Exact Match Domain” — is a filter Google launched in September 2012 to prevent poor quality sites from ranking well simply because they had words that match search terms in their domain names. When a fresh EMD Update happens, sites that have improved their content may regain good rankings. New sites with poor content — or those previously missed by EMD — may get caught. In addition, “false positives” may get released.
Google: Payday Update (June 11, 2013)
Launched on June 11, 2013 – the “Payday Update” was a new algorithm targeted at cleaning up search results for traditionally “spammy queries” such as [payday loan], pornographic and other heavily spammed queries.
Google: Hummingbird (September 2013)
“Hummingbird” is the name of the new search platform that Google is using as of September 2013; the name comes from being “precise and fast” and is designed to better focus on the meaning behind the words. Hummingbird is paying more attention to each word in a query, ensuring that the whole query — the whole sentence or conversation or meaning — is taken into account, rather than particular words. The goal is that pages matching the meaning do better, rather than pages matching just a few words.
Google Hummingbird is designed to apply the meaning technology to billions of pages from across the web, in addition to Knowledge Graph facts, which may bring back better results.
Google: Pigeon Update (July 24, 2014)
Launched on July 24, 2014 for U.S. English results, the “Pigeon Update” is a new algorithm to provide more useful, relevant and accurate local search results that are tied more closely to traditional web search ranking signals. Google stated that this new algorithm improves their distance and location ranking parameters.