July Monthly Recap

Algorithm Updates: Penguin 2.0 and the newest Panda

On May 21, Google rolled out its newest version, Penguin 2.0. Between May 21 and July 15, Google is continuing to roll out four notable algorithm updates, including a Panda update and the much-anticipated Penguin 2.0 update.

What did the newest version of Penguin 2.0 do?

Considering Penguin 2.0 was released to improve anti-link-spamming, the newest update is continuing to support that objective. Its focus is on improving the quality of search results by detecting and removing factors that give some sites unfair advantage over others in rankings. The update mainly focuses on low-quality link signals, content quality, as well as, domain advantages. Google’s main algorithmic intent is to decrease the value in spammy links as per black hat techniques.

While some businesses that have a history of bad link structure are not negatively affected right away, those bad links are continually being devalued as more updates unravel. So, some businesses are experiencing fluctuations in organic rankings due to the decrease in value of the now-dodgy links that once worked in the past; therefore, they may be finding it harder to compete in search results.

Likewise, with the newest 2.0 update, link authority is now being removed automatically when link spam is detected. To recover from the update, sites should focus on regaining link authority. Rather than executing more link building campaigns, it’s important to note that it may be more beneficial to examine link portfolios in Google Webmaster Tools and remove all devalued links that could be considered spammy to Google’s newest algorithm.

The refined Panda

Starting July 14, among Google’s updates included a more refined version of Panda. From Panda’s last update where the goal was to demote low-quality sites and those with with thin content, this update is still supporting that vision. Although Google is no longer supplying information to the public, we are aware that Panda updates are still going out every month.

What’s still important from Panda

Content is still King. Fortunately, many of the previous Panda practices are still of great value. Panda filters seek to reinforce that content is still highly important, as search engines need to be able to efficiently crawl, index, and catalog.

Panda = Content

Penguin = Links

Local Search Recap

Google adds 5 Star reviews to Local Search results

Google has recently reinstated the usage of the 5-star reviews that can now be viewed directly in a pack-listing. The criteria for obtaining the star-reviews is by getting at least five business reviews on a local listing, which is beneficial in terms of appearance--much like Authorship Markup is in organic search results--it stands out. There are many ideas circulating around the newest addition, but one thing is for certain, Google reviews are still a very important factor in local search rankings.

Bing’s newest addition: Bing Boards

Bing has recently rolled out their own update by incorporating something called Bing Boards.

What has it changed on a Bing search result?

Well, the old Bing was split into three columns: the left contained actual search results, the middle was devoted to general information about a search topic, and the far right column was all social networking. Now, the middle column is dedicated to this newest update, Bing Boards. We can think of Bing Boards much like Pinterest in that they are curated by other people and are related to the keyword search. However, they’re more directly in correlation with influencers in that particular industry or even popular bloggers related to the search topic. In a way, it acts as a recommendation for search engine results. What’s interesting is Bing is now giving individuals influence in search results, instead of it being strictly algorithms.

What will Google do with the Carousel Next?

Last month we wrote an update about Google Maps newest addition: the Carousel. Looking ahead, there might be some changes coming up in the near future that changes how the Carousel may operate. For one, Google very well could use the carousel to push users to a business’ Google+ Local page. Meaning, Google could turn the carousel into an advertising platform of sorts in which you could pay to take control of your carousel tile.

Right now, the carousel is still only viewable in select industries, namely: bars, restaurants, and colleges. Local search data has not quite determined if the carousel will be incorporated into more Google categories like home services, etc, or stick to high-traffic area categories. We’re watching for more Google carousel updates.

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