SEO marketers know that it’s been a rough year in their field; the Google algorithm undergoes up to 600 changes per year, and most SEO aficionados try to keep tabs on specific dates and functions of the changes. This way, they can hopefully anticipate and prepare for anything massive, and have an explanation for and reaction to any drastic shifts in rankings. However, with so much going on this past year, it’s gotten a bit difficult to keep up. In fact, there might even be some Google changes that you’ve yet to notice.
Google Page Layout
It was on October 9th that a tweet confirmed that Google would be updating the way its main page looked and functioned. In an effort to reduce the influx of spam and create a cleaner appearance, the algorithm adjustment preyed on pages that were associated with too many advertisements which would overtake the search results and make the page look very top-heavy. The goal is to assist users in seeing the content they want to see as high-up as possible without having to scroll through advertisements to get to it. Any site that is lacking in content above the fold will take a hit as it does not provide immediate information and therefore harms the user experience.
Third Refresh on the Penguin Update
October 5th was the most recent large refresh on the Penguin algorithm change – yet another attempt to swap spam for useful content. It will affect about .3% of English language searches, but will have some effect on queries in other languages as well.
Exact-Match Domain, or EMD
In late September, Google made the announcement that they will be implementing an update on exact-match searches. Now, there will be a reduced number of exact-match domains. Even if a domain is an exact match, it will not show up based on that fact alone; it must still be a high-quality website to show up in the immediate results.
It’s difficult to anticipate what direction the Google changes will go next based solely on the fact that their aim is to improve the quality of the user experience but that quality is fairly subjective. So far, however, the changes have been immensely noticeable, and it’s important to remain in the loop if you want to keep your page well-ranked.