2012: The Year in Google Updates
December 21, 2012
2012 has been a wild year for Google and vis-à-vis for SEO companies, as we scrambled to keep up with their numerous updates. Here are some of the highlights:
January – Google updates their algorithm to devalue pages with too many ads “above the fold”.
February – Panda is updated to screen out more low quality sites and sites with poor content.
March – Google announces yet another Panda update via Twitter. Google also publishes a rare glimpse into one of their Search Quality Meetings (recommended viewing).
April – Google’s Penguin update goes live. The update is aimed at decreasing rankings for websites that practice “black-hat” SEO, like keyword stuffing and deliberate duplicate content.
May – Google introduces the Knowledge Graph. According to Google, “The Knowledge Graph enables you to search for things, people or places that Google knows about—landmarks, celebrities, cities, sports teams, buildings, geographical features, movies, celestial objects, works of art and more—and instantly get information that’s relevant to your query.”
June – Panda is updated again, affecting less than 1% of search queries, according to Google. However, fluctuations in rankings data suggests that the impact was more substantial than previous Panda updates.
July – Sites with unnatural backlinks are sent warnings via Google Webmaster Tools.
August – Google announces that sites with copyright violations will be penalized via DMCA takedown requests.
September – Google rolls out the EMD (Exact Match Domain) penalty which filters out sites low on quality content that are using EMD for optimized positioning.
October – Google updates the algorithm introduced in January that targets ads above the fold.
November – Panda is updated for the 21st time with the goal of screening out low quality websites.
December – The Knowledge Graph is expanded from English to include queries in a variety of languages from around the world.
What will 2013 bring? Possum? Parrot? Pangolin? Only the future will tell. But one thing’s for certain: the SEO industry will continue change as it keeps up with Google’s updates.