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Search Engine Daily Weather Report

Search Engines themselves are very active. Google and other search engines are continuously rolling out algorithm updates. Tracking your search results day to day or hour to hour can be a very frustrating experience. It is not unusual to see results bounce in the SERP before returning to a steady, and hopefully upward trend. Spikes in either direction will usually indicate a problem. We like to see the graphs of our site and ratings go up. A steep spike when there has been no increase in advertising or similar campaign can be a signal of manipulation. Google’s Webmaster Trends Analyst John Mueller reminds us: “We Make Changes Almost Every Day”. There is a list of the ‘Named’ Algorithm Updates below with a little information on each. Prior to running any new campaign, there should be a proper SEO website audit completed.

Google Algorithm Updates

Google Panda Update
Launch date: February 24, 2011
Risks: Duplicate, plagiarized or thin content; user-generated spam; keyword stuffing

Google Top Heavy Update
Launch date: January 2012
Risks: Google prevents sites that were “top heavy” with ads from ranking well in its listings

Google EMD (Exact Match Domain) Update
Launch date: September 2012
Risks: Patch released to prevent poor quality sites from ranking well simply because they had words that match search terms in their domain names

Google Pirate Update
Launch date: August 2012
Risks: designed to prevent sites with many copyright infringement reports, as filed through Google’s DMCA system, from ranking well in Google’s listings

Google EMD (Exact Match Domain) Update
Launch date: September 2012
Risks: Patch released to prevent poor quality sites from ranking well simply because they had words that match search terms in their domain names

Google Penguin Update
Launch date: April 24, 2012
Risks: Spammy or irrelevant links; links with over-optimized anchor text

Google Payday Update
Launch date: June 11, 2013
Risks: targeted at cleaning results for “spammy queries” such as payday loan, porn and other typically heavily spammed queries

Google Hummingbird
Launch date: August 22, 2013
Risks: Keyword stuffing; low-quality content

Google Pigeon Update
Launch date: July 24, 2014 (US); December 22, 2014 (UK, Canada, Australia)
Risks: Poor on- and off-page SEO

Google Mobile-Friendly Update
Launch date: April 21, 2015
Risks: Lack of a mobile version of the page; poor mobile usability