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November 11, 2014

7 Major Google Algorithm Updates in 2014

Nowadays, the Internet is an integral part of our daily lives; and at the center of everything is Google. Each year, Google tightens it’s reigns by releasing periodic updates that attempt to clean the web of spam, thin content, unrelated material, etc. Depending on the algorithm change, a website may see very little change, be penalized or can even perform better.

So what major Google algorithm updates happened in 2014? Here were the top seven:

 

1. Page Layout: Above the Fold

Website-Design-above-the-fold

Back in early February, Google released a new page layout algorithm that specifically targets the placement of ads. Most Internet users focus their attention to the top portion of any given webpage. Websites took advantage of this notion and made many “top-heavy” ads. The new algorithm now penalizes websites with ads placed heavily above the fold. Content— even relevant content, shouldn’t be bombarded with ads; it needs to be done organically.

2. Panda 4.0

images-1There has been a long line of Panda updates— the first one, “Panda Update 1.0” was released back in 2011. Since then, there have been 25 additional Panda updates; Panda 4.0 was released in mid May and it greatly changed how Google identifies sites with poor content. Most Panda updates prior to this were more minor. All in all, ~7.5 percent of all English queries were affected.

3. Authorship Photo Drop

the-end-of-google-authorship

Google authorship distinguished genuine bloggers from the rest; it also encouraged new users to create a Google+ profile to establish online legitimacy. Recently, you’ve probably noticed the disappearance of the authorship photo boxes (which used to appear next to Google search results). As hard as Google pushed for this, it was a complete surprise when the authorship photos were done away with in late June; and by the end of the summer, authorship bylines were also removed. Google claims that these will create a better online experience.

 

4. Pigeon

Google-Pigeon-Update-400x257This past summer was full of new algorithm changes. On July 24th, the new Pigeon update was released; directly impacting local search results. Pigeon aims to improve overall  local searches via improvements between the core algorithm and local ones.

 

5. HTTPS/SSL Update

secure-browser-https

It often feels like most URLs begin with “http”, but there will probably be a growing shift towards more “https” URLs. This past August, Google officially stated that secure websites would be given preference in ranking. If this change proves successful, Google will give even more preference to https websites.

6. Panda 4.1

images-2

Although Panda 4.0 was released just months before in May, Google released Panda 4.1 (the 27th Panda update) occurred in late September. It wasn’t as major as the the Panda 4.0 update, but it still affected about 3-5% of queries.

7. Pirate 2.0

illegal_downloading

In an age where so much many things can be downloaded and streamed illegally, Google is cracking down once again with its first anti-piracy update in over two years. Pirate 2.0 happened a couple of weeks ago (on October 21st) and enforces legitimate media outlets. The most affected by this change are mostly torrent websites that provide illegal software and media downloads.

What Can You Do?

AbsorbingChange

In an age where so much many things can be downloaded and streamed illegally, Google is cracking down once again with its first anti-piracy update in over two years. Pirate 2.0 happened a couple of weeks ago (on October 21st) and enforces legitimate media outlets. The most affected by this change are mostly torrent websites that provide illegal software and media downloads.

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