November 14th, 2013 saw a pretty decent sized shift in rankings for many websites. At Fruition, we've seen larger ecommerce sites generally do better. Was this a pre holiday adjustment favoring product searches? Was it a Hummingbird update? Was it a panda or penguin tweak? We're not sure yet but we'd love your input. Chat about it on our blog post about this update.
Websites whose rankings improved
As Google’s Penguin update continually evolves, businesses of all sizes are constantly on their toes to prevent getting a Google penalty from one of the Penguin updates. The Penguin 2.0 update, which was released on May 23, 2013, affected a lot of websites – roughly 2.3% of web queries, which was the biggest hit since the original Penguin release in April 2012. Penguin 2.1 hit impacted ~1% of websites according to Google. However, we have noticed a much larger impact than that at roughly 3.1%.
Reported by all of the major SEO blogs but no comment from Google until a month after the fact. Interestingly, the same day of the unreported update Matt Cutts (a Google engineer) sent out a tweet asking for feedback on small websites that are not doing well in Google. Sure enough, we're seeing that small websites were impacted negatively. This update likely went after websites that had thin content, little traffic, but great designs, and ranked well for specific phrases. The way out of this penalty is to add good content to your website.
Users often turn to Google to answer a quick question, but research suggests that up to 10% of users’ daily information needs involve learning about a broad topic. That’s why today Google introduced new search results to help users find in-depth articles.
These results are ranked algorithmically based on many signals that look for high-quality, in-depth content. Follow these best practices:
About 12% of websites in Fruition's penalty checker were impacted by this update.
Google said they wanted to "soften" Panda updates. Not exactly sure how you soften them. If you get hit you get hit. Maybe reducing the number of pages that get hit or the total % drop in traffic that you would receive after an update. Let you lose your traffic slowly instead of all at once.
The latest update from Google is out. You can check to see if your website was impacted using Fruition’s Google Penalty Checker Tool. We’re calling this update Woolly because it had a broad impact a lot of websites (Woolly’s are generally thought of as big) and many of the sites that were impacted had stale content and or designs. “Woolly” is actually the biggest change in website’s rankings since the December 2012 update. This means that it is bigger than the headline grabbing Penguin 2 update in May!
This update impacted spammy industries. "Pay day loans" is the example most frequently mentioned also porn, viagra, are discussed as well.
This update also impacted second tier linking building.
If you think your industry has really serious black hat SEO going on then you may have noticed a positive or negative impact to your website's rankings.
We will continue to update this post as we see the rankings shake out.
Google announced this update with little fan fare. Google said that it impacted roughly 1.2% of websites. However, we've seen big swings for nearly every website that signs up for Fruition's penalty checker.
The following questions appeared sometime ago when looking at Panda updates and are applicable to this update as well.
This Panda update was fairly significant but not reported by Google. Barry Schwartz, a well-respected SEO editor, blogged about it and noted a lot of chat on various SEO forums. This update primarily dinged sites with low quality, shallow or thin content. It boosted sites that continually publish lengthy, informative content from highly regarded authors. This is evidence that Authorship factors are growing in importance.
Need help executing a Google Friendly content strategy, or improving your Authorship?
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Google reported less than 1% of searches were impacted by this update.
This update saw a lot of poor quality traffic going to sites that were impacted. This means that the quantity of traffic to your site may not have fluctuated, but the quality may have changed significantly, resulting in fewer conversions.
The Panda update also showed an increase in search visibility for well known brands. Lesser known sites seemed to suffer.
Need help gaining more qualified traffic?
Need help growing your brand recognition?
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This is a pre-holiday Panda update. Google reported that it impacted 1.1% of all U.S. search traffic. That is a fairly high number for Google updates.
There was a lot of chatter about blogs being impacted more on this than others. Some blogs that had a lot of guest posters seemed to have been impacted more than others.
This update also dinged sites that Google deems to be 'low value' meaning the site is not very useful, or publishes content available on other websites.
This update improved the search results of sites publishing:
-Original, well written content
This update went after page layouts. If your site had a big ads right in the middle of the page you probably saw a drop in traffic. If your site does not offer pleasing graphic design or does not use images to illustrate your text, you may have seen a drop.
Need help sprucing up the layout of each page?
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Google seemed to light the SEO world on fire with threats of a massive earth shattering update but this particular change did not impact many sites. The Penguin updates are designed to to reduce the amount of Web Spam. The penguin update hurt many sites that had lots of low quality inbound links. These include links from bad neighborhoods, spammy sites, links from sites with low Domain Authority scores, and sites that are off topic or irrelevant to your website' content.
Need help cleaning up bad links?
Need help cultivating new, high quality links?
Fruition can help
This was one of the big listed updates that took on the name of 65-pack because Google gave us 65 updates with bug numbers.
These updates tend to be focused on functionality and not so much on big Panda or Penguin type changes in results.
Highlights that may have impacted your site:
-Improve resutls for sites with high quality content from trusted sources
-Changes in the way Google generates autocompleted search queries
-Improved search for certain industries including Finance, Sports, Travel and Movies. Devalued sites featuring adult content.
The Panda #20 Update covered a variety of topics. In short, sites that did not conform to the overall best practices got dinged.
ONSITE Best Practices
-Current and compliant HTML coding and site architecture
-High quality, informative content
-Easy to navigate menus
-Avoid ad heavy pages (or at least no ads above the fold)
-No pirating of copy from other websites
OFFSITE Best Practices
-High quality inbound links from relevant sites
-Links from social media sites
-Overall trustworthiness of the site
-Keyword stuffing in content
This updated officially ended the party for easy-to-rank Exact Match Domains (EMD). For a long time, it was easy to buy a domain name that exactly matched a high volume search term and voila, there you were at the top of Google. For example, if a site wanted to rank for the term "Colorado Ski Resorts" then buying the domain name www.ColoradoSkiResorts.com did the trick, without much content or many high quality links. For years, it was a loophole that savvy site owners used. As of this update, game over.
Lots of Panda and algorithm updates and changing the way sites appear. It's interesting that Google listed the bug numbers with this update list.
uefa-euro1. [project codename “Answers”] Addition of a live result showing schedule and scores of the EURO 2012 games (European championship of national soccer teams).
#82293. [project codename “Answers”] Improved dictionary search feature by adding support for more natural language searches.
This update goes after sites that are scraping content and perhaps spinning it. This is a violation of Google' Quality Guidelines
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May always seems to be a big month for Google updates. Perhaps Google engineers set may as a the end of a four month sprint then take the summer off?
Here’s the list for May:
<0.1% of English searches
Some more context on this update:
Another update with a nice but generic listed changes.
Google's knock down of webspam
Listed March updates http://insidesearch.blogspot.com/2012/04/another-step-to-reward-high-qua...
Updated likely on freshness of content. Not much else is known about this one.
Updated data within Google's index.
Also, turned off a link signal which no really seemed to figure out what they meant.
Local Search Rankings were impacted utilizing core organic search results more than local results.
Improved site links and better detection of official pages e.g. band websites.
We had an adsense site get hit by this update. We left it up as an example denverolympics.com. The site had a lot of other issues but it ranked well for exact match. The day after this update the site dropped.
G+ enters the organic search world forever changing generic who gets served what results.
More comprehensive indexing: This change makes more long-tail documents available in our index, so they are more likely to rank for relevant queries.
New “parked domain” classifier: This is a new algorithm for automatically detecting parked domains. Parked domains are placeholder sites with little unique content for our users and are often filled only with ads. In most cases, we prefer not to show them.