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Google Update: Google’s Most Significant Recent Algorithm Changes

Google is constantly making changes to its algorithm, and every couple of months or so they release a major update to this complex puzzle that delivers us our results on the search engine.  With this past week’s release of ‘Search Plus Your World’, we thought it would be interesting to highlight some of the significant algorithm changes that have occurred over the recent years along with our key takeaways from each to help you stay on top of your SEO.


VINCE (2009): Placed an emphasis on brand signals and social engagement with the site users, leading to more perceived authority for large brands.

TAKEAWAY: If you are a brand that is socially engaged with your users, those ‘social signals’ will help your SEO and the ability for pages from your site to be found easier in Google.


MAYDAY (2010): Lots of content alone no longer guarantees rankings for long tail keywords.

TAKEAWAY: In order to be found in Google, your content and the link anchor text must contain related terms and phrases to support a themed contextual


CAFFEINE (2010): Page load time and site speed are more important, also pages across the internet are indexed more rapidly.

TAKEAWAY: Rewards site that publish new unique content, “ie: Articles, Blog Videos and Images” on a regular basis because the perception is they are staying current with their market and their users.


SCRAPE AND PANDA (2011): Duplicate content is even more detrimental than before. Google is identifying and filtering out low quality pages and sites. This is more of a filter than an algorithm update. Google has ran this filter seven times starting on February 24th, 2011 with the last time it was ran on September 28th, 2011.

TAKEAWAY: Repurposed or reused content is not as valuable as unique content which is well themed and aligned with the sites contextual footprint. Sites that do not provide valuable informative content to their users will be filtered out of the index.


GOOGLE+ (2011): Builds upon personalized search and recommended content.

TAKEAWAY: A sites social graph, “the global mapping of everybody and how they’re related”, has an influence on what a user seeing in their search results. If the site is socially engaged with their user base, they will see more results from that site. This also means, that a sites user’s friends will see more results from sites that their friends are engaged with.


FRESHNESS (2011): Part of the Caffeine Update, this will impact roughly 35% of search queries, so that current content, topics and events that are updated

TAKEAWAY: Fresh content is a must, site must continually publish content.


SEARCH PLUS YOUR WORLD (2012): Google’s algorithm now finds both the content that’s been shared with you privately along with matches from the public web, all mixed into a single set of listings.

TAKEAWAY: Personalized search is the new “normal”. Social signals play a much bigger part in Google algorithm. This move was done to defend against spam and reinforce quality content as the driving force for SEO. Content that is of quality and pertains to target markets will now get extra lifts in Google based upon your social networks and recommendations.

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Yahoogle Partnership

[Ed. note: This article originally set to post on 4/28]

Google and Yahoo sitting in a tree K-I-S-S-I-N-G…well, that possibility could be a reality in the near future. Let it be known that Yahoo is currently seeking a business partnership with Google.

As of April 28, 2008, Google and Yahoo are in the middle of a two-week alpha test. This test is primarily composed of both Search Engines combining and “testing” specific search functionalities to improve Yahoo’s Online search and advertising platform. Simply put, Yahoo Is using Google’s search query and selected algorithmic components to generate and display ads to Yahoo users based upon their searches.

For those that are not familiar with Search Engine market share break down; Google controls roughly 60% of the U.S. Web search market and Yahoo owns roughly 20%. The remaining percentages are comprised of lonely MSN with about 10% market share and the remaining numbers being divided amongst smaller search engines such as and

The coalition of these two search engines, Google and Yahoo, could dramatically change the world of online search and advertising. In theory, this merger could eliminate all competition within this industry. Why would any business or online surfer want to use a different channel? Google and Yahoo already utilize the most advanced algorithms within the industry and retain the highest levels of user loyalty.

Due to this potential merger, the “Google/Yahoo” test is under investigation by the U.S. Justice Department and other competition regulators for possibly violating antitrust implications. Nothing of note or credible importance has yet to be quoted or released pertaining to this investigation.

I believe Yahoo is taking the right approach to test Google’s applications, strategies and brand name to improve upon their current search operations. Also, this is a slap in the face to MSN as Yahoo recently rejected their (MSN) $44 billion buy out offer. By rejecting MSN and now “working” with Google, I feel that Yahoo is moving in the right direction to improve their search functionality. If this merger happens, I believe this will be a win-win for the Google and Yahoo, but a major lose for all competing search engines.

One step at a time though, lets see what type of reports and feedback are released once the test is complete and their data is viewable. I am very interested to see what their “test” findings show and what the next steps are, if any.


Generally, my addenda are long and make several sub points on what I write about. However this addendum is quite the opposite. I wanted to point out that I am biased towards Google. My tone in writing this blog may not show it, but I respect Google too much and want them to succeeded and fully control this market. Google is simply a great brand with a great product, which I want to see get better. By Google helping/working with Yahoo I only see future benefits and improvement in this youthful world of Search Engine Marketing. In my eyes, I see Google as the older brother, helping his younger sibling, Yahoo.