2012 has been a time of great change when it comes to most things in the world. Relationships have been tried and tested, people have of course survived a good many trials and the world of technology has also seen a lot of flux. Nowhere has this been more apparent than when it comes to the world of SEO changes. These search engine optimization changes and SEO updates have caused computer users to really examine how they’re attempting to get their sites noticed, and whether or not they are being pushed aside by companies who use SEO well but really only link to sites that are of relatively poor quality. The juggernaut known as Google has influenced a good many of these search engine optimization changes, resulting in some of the biggest influences to SEO in a good long while. There have been several search engine optimization updates and changes throughout 2012, but what, really, are the most important?
SEO Change 1. Knowledge Graph Expansion
Google has implemented many SEO changes, but the most recent is the expansion of their Knowledge Graph into other languages. This has provided both benefits and disadvantages for SEO specialists looking to make their SEO updates a little easier. Search engine semantics have undoubtedly improved over the last few years, clearing up some of the ambiguity revolving around search engine terms. The Knowledge Graph draws on a users prior search history as well as the current search terms in order to help the user narrow down exactly what he or she is looking for. As a result of the Knowledge Graph spreading to other languages, users from other countries can now make the most of their search experience, rather than clicking on the random links they seem to be directed to.
SEO Change 2. Panda Update #22
In some cases, Panda Update #22 caused a lot of concern, as many SEO specialists and webmasters suspected the update was going to cause an uproar and generate further SEO changes and SEO updates. However, Panda #22 came in with more of a whimper, affecting a scant 0.8 per cent of all queries generated in English.
SEO Change 3. Panda Update #21
This particular Panda update, released in early November 2012, impacted slightly more English queries in the United States, affecting 1.1 per cent of all queries. This, in turn, caused another generation of search engine optimization updates.
SEO Change 4. Page Layout #2 Update
Dubbed “Top Heavy 2” by the pundits, this layout change meant that roughly 0.7 per cent of English language queries were affected. Essentially, what happened with this update was it drove pages that were top heavy with ads further down on the search engine rankings. This was the second such change to Googles return on searches, as the first was announced in January 2012.
SEO Update 5. Exact Match Domain Update
Introduced in September 2012, this update was specifically designed to crack down on the numbers of low quality exact match domains. This was deemed to be different than either Panda or Penguin, however; Pandas mandate is to fight low quality content while Penguin is to fight web spam. This update was specifically designed to filter out exact match domains with low quality content, which meant it was back to the drawing board for SEO specialists relying on exact matches on low quality content sites for higher rankings on the search engine list.
SEO Update 6. Panda #20 Update
This overlapped the exact match domain update introduced in September, and was a fairly major change, as far as SEO updates go. Where 2.4 per cent of English queries were affected, roughly 0.5 per cent of non-English queries were impacted by the change. This was not a simple refresh to Panda; it was an overall change to the algorithm itself, which meant that SEO specialists had a lot of work to do in terms of ensuring its websites contained quality content in order to survive being taken out by Pandas filters.
SEO Update 7. 7 Result SERPs
This update, instituted in August 2012, was actually rolled out over the course of two days, and it was a significant one; it meant that roughly 20 per cent of the search engine results pages (SERPs) posted only seven top links instead of the traditional 10. As a result, SEO specialists had to really strive towards ensuring they had good quality content with the right keywords in order to make the cut into the top seven.
SEO Update 8. DMCA Penalties
Sites which were repeatedly infringing on copyright laws came under fire, which meant that any SEO associated with the site also needed to be changed up once the sites were remedied. The penalties take advantage of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, and issues takedown request to any sites where the copyright of material might be in question.
SEO Update 9. Introduction of the Knowledge Graph
Googles Knowledge Graph bows in mid-May amid much speculation about what this could mean in terms of internet searches. It does, in fact, make searching a lot more intuitive; with 500 million objects and 3.5 billion facts about relationships between these objects, the Knowledge Graph helps users find what theyre looking for more effectively and rapidly than if they were reliant on search strings alone. In addition, its also tailored to mobile devices, making your search experience far more effective.
SEO Update 10. The Arrival of Penguin
Penguin, which had previously been dubbed a webspam algorithm, gets an official name and starts challenging spammers in their efforts to get their relatively low quality content out to users. It was an alogrithm not deliberately designed to target content farms, which are frequently associated with low quality content, but some did fall prey to the filtering that Penguin did against the spam it would detect on a wide range of sites.
In short, there were a number of search engine optimization changes which challenged SEO specialists and their clients to come up with new, effective ways to market themselves when Google is making the game that much more competitive. Whether its by linking to high quality content or by ensuring your site is free of spam, its certain that SEO specialists have had to rethink how theyre playing the marketing game.