Google Search Algorithms Updates shook up the SEO world in 2014 and kept the SEOs busy managing their websites.

I’ve put together a summary of the Google Algorithm SEO updates for 2014:

Page Layout Algorithm Update #3 – February 06, 2014

Earlier this year, Google refreshed its Page Layout Algorithm update, also known as “top heavy”, and penalised websites with too many ads that are distracting for users. The algorithm update refreshed on February 06, 2014 and this is the third confirmed update to the Top Heavy Algorithm.

The “Top Heavy 1” update released on Jan 19, 2012, while “Top Heavy 2″ on October 09, 2012.

Softer Panda Update – March 24, 2014

The Softer Panda Update was released on March 24, 2014 and is named after Google Engineer, Navneet Panda, though was invented by both Navneet Panda and Vladimir Ofitserov from Google.

The Panda update evaluates the rankings of pages by looking at their inbound links, search queries that refer to these pages and how well these queries are made for the ranked page/ resource.

Google Pay Day Loan Algorithm 2.0 – May 16, 2014

The Pay Day Loan Algorithm is specifically targeted at “very spammy queries” and is an international rollout which affects different languages to different degrees.

Google Panda Update 4.0 – May 19, 2014

The Google Panda Algorithm Update was targeted at websites with poor quality content.

Google Pay Day Loan Algorithm 3.0 – June 12, 2014

The Google Pay Day Loan Algorithm 3.0 was confirmed a couple of weeks after the launch of Google Pay Day Loan Algorithm 2.0. The 3.0 targets “more spammy queries“ like [payday loans], [casinos], [viagra] etc.. and other forms of highly spammy queries.

Google Authorship Update – End of Author Photos from Search Results – June 28, 2014

This update was confirmed when John Muller announced Google is dropping authorship photos from the search results. In the announcement, he said “We’ve been doing lots of work to clean up the visual design of our search results, in particular creating a better mobile experience and a more consistent design across devices.

Previously, with Google Authorship verified for the Author, you might have seen your photo in the Google search results along with the Google circle count.Google Author Photo - BeforeAfter this update, we lost Author photos and Google Plus circle count from the search results. This is how you now see the Author name:Google Author Photo - AfterThe drop of author photo is a drastic change in the Google visual search results and has generally resulted in a drop in click through rate (CTR). But this doesn’t mean that authorship is going away, there are things that haven’t changed such as:

– Authorship is still live
– Author names still appear in the search results
– No impact on the rankings of your website

Google Pigeon Update – July 24, 2014

In the last week of July 2014, Google rolled out a major algorithm update in the US to provide accurate search results to the users. The Google Pigeon update was designed to provide useful, relevant and accurate search results to businesses and does impact the local search results.

This update improves the distance and location ranking parameters and the results are visible within the Google Maps and Google Web Search Results.

The update is confirmed for the US and we are still waiting for this to roll out in Australia. We’ve started preparing our websites for local search results by optimising them locally and improving their local presence in Google Maps.

Google HTTPS/SSL Update – August 06, 2014

Earlier this month, Google confirmed that security is the top priority and have invested a lot in making the web broadly safer. Google encourages all website owners to switch from HTTP to HTTPS to keep everyone safe on the web.

As a result adding a 2048-bit SSL key certificate to your site will give you a minor ranking boost.

There are still 4 months to go for the year 2014 to end and I am prepared for the Google’s updates. Are you?

Take Away…

Keep yourself updated with the ever changing search trends and follow Google guidelines ethically.

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David Metcalf - Director
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