October Begins With a Stream of Google Algorithm Updates
While the month of September ended with sombre news for the search engine optimisation industry with the EMD algorithm update, the trend seems to continue for the month of October as well. As reported earlier, on 28th September 2012, Matt Cutts announced the roll out of the EMD algorithm update, which targeted the exact-match domains (EMD) with low quality content. However, news of another Panda update also started doing the rounds at the same time because several non-EMD sites were also affected.
Later, Google confirmed that along with the EMD update, it also upgraded the Panda algorithm 20th time. This wasn't a mere refresh to the algorithm; rather, it was an update that affected 2.4% of search queries. The SEO industry was hit hard by this update, which continued to affect search queries in the first few days of October as well.
On 1st October, the industry also woke up to the speculations related to another Google Image Search update. While there were no official statements issued by Google about this update, the industry people noticed extreme changes in the image search index. Yet there are no confirmations on whether this is an update concerning Image Search results or a repercussion of the EMD update.
Within a few days of these updates, Matt Cutts also announced the much-anticipated Penguin update (on 5th October). As announced earlier that the upcoming Penguin update would be 'jarring and jolting,' nothing of that sort was witnessed by the SEO industry. Penguin 3 was more of a refresh than an update and affected 0.3% of English search queries. Cutts also added that the refresh had 0.4% impact on Spanish queries, 0.3% of Italian queries and 0.4% on French queries. Yet, as compared to previous Penguin updates, there were no extreme changes witnessed by the industry.
The latest update by Google was rolled out on 10th October for its Page Layout algorithm. Officially, this is the second Page Layout update, but industry experts suspect there were many refreshes before. About 0.7% English queries were affected by this updated, as confirmed by Cutts. In its attempt to improve the quality of search results and user experience, Google has penalised the websites that do not have enough content 'above-the-fold.' So, if your website is loaded with ads on above-the-fold, it is bound to be hit by this algorithm update.
All these updates by Google are aimed at rewarding high-quality websites and to check web spamming activities, yet a number of search engine optimisers, who practice white-hat SEO, are complaining as well. With time, probably, the industry would get accustomed to the right SEO strategies that would positively affect their rankings on Google search. Till then, all we can do is adjust to the upcoming updates on regular basis and stick to legitimate ways of improving site rankings.