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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.