Every year Google performs a number of updates to its powerful search engine, and 2012 was no exception. This post will highlight some of those updates and talk about the importance of keeping on top of them in the Philadelphia SEO community.
Google’s expansion continues to march on with new updates and features to its search engine. In 2012, Philadelphia SEO companies and others engaged in using search to benefit their clients had a lot to keep up with. Here is a recap of some of the ways Google improved or otherwise modified its search technology last year.
• Functionality for Knowledge Graph for searches in various languages was added. The languages included Italian, Russian, Portuguese, French, Spanish, German and Japanese. Improved KG capabilities were included in the update.
• Google initiated its 21st Panda update, smaller than previous Panda updates and affecting just over one percent of queries in English. However, Google rolled out a number of other Panda updates in 2012, some large with big impact, many small and affecting low percentages of queries.
• A modification was made to an algorithm for Google’s original page layout, which was introduced early in the year. The update focused on web pages containing an excess number of advertisements above the fold.
This update was important to Philadelphia SEO firms that manage advertising on their clients’ websites. It’s one of many examples of the multiple changes SEO experts must stay abreast of to keep Google “interested” in the sites they maintain.
• The October monthly search highlights list included a recap of 65 updates that had been made in August and September such as expansion of Knowledge Graph, modifications on the way the search engine determines page quality, modifications in the determination of local results and other changes.
• A big change was made to Google’s Top 10 – it is now limited to seven results for a number of search queries. According to research, some 18 percent of tracked keywords were impacted by this change.
The ways in which Google deals with keywords in searches is always of interest to web developers and Philadelphia SEO professionals. Over the years, the search engine has watched closely the ways keywords were used and has made numerous revisions to penalize “black hat” marketers. People who work in SEO must watch Google’s changes closely in order to prevent their clients’ sites from being penalized.
• Sites guilty of repeating copyright violations began to be penalized in 2012. It’s likely that Google will use takedown requests from the Digital Millennium Copyright Act in issuing penalties.
Another area Google has historically stayed on top of is duplicate content. Duplicate content began appearing on sites years ago, used by sly marketers to put a number of similar or exact-same sites onto the Internet and reap the benefits of search traffic from all of them. Currently Google is very strict with websites where content is duplicated, which is why Philadelphia SEO companies are constantly making sure their clients’ sites contain no content of this kind.
• In May, 39 updates were included in Google’s monthly Search Highlights. Areas of the updates included improved methods for detecting link schemes, alterations to the re-writing of snippets and titles, Google News updates and several Penguin improvements.
Much of what Google did in 2012 had little impact on SEO companies, but, as in every year, plenty had a huge impact. Google constantly rolls out updates and changes that must be worked with and rules that must be adhered to in order for search engine optimization to work for SEO firms’ clients rather than against them.
Doug Thomas is a freelance writer interested in Boomtown Internet Group, a Pennsylvania Internet marketing firm specializing in Philadelphia SEO projects for clients in a broad range of industries. You can learn more about Boomtown Internet Group at BoomtownIG.com.