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Why SEOs Can’t Keep Google off Their Mind

Google has been busy the last couple weeks by continually making news in the SEO community. Two weeks ago it was the unexpected announcement of Hummingbird and just last week Google released an updated version of Penguin. This week, although it’s the opposite of their latest trend, Google’s Matt Cutts said they would not be making an update to PageRank before the year is over.

It’s an SEO’s job to keep up with the latest search engine updates from Google, but it’s rare to see such big announcements from Google three weeks in a row. SEO’s who uphold the highest standards in ranking their sites have nothing to fear, but others who take black hat SEO to a darker level are probably trying to figure out how to rebound from the latest updates.

First it was Hummingbird

Changes in SERPs were witnessed well before Google announced Hummingbird was responsible. This update altered Google’s core algorithm and aimed to improve search results produced from complex searches. Although Google said changes in search results wouldn’t be noticed by most users, we certainly saw rankings fluctuate before it was announced.

Then it was Penguin 2.1

On October 4 Google’s head of web spam Matt Cutts shared on Twitter that a new version of Penguin had been launched. According to Cutts the update, labeled Penguin 2.1, would affect about 1 percent of searches to a “noticeable degree.” This percentage is quite significant in comparison to previous updates of Penguin:

  • Penguin 1.0 – April 24, 2012 – Affected about 3.1 percent of searches
  • Penguin 1.2 – May 26, 2012 – Affected less than 0.1 percent of searches
  • Penguin 1.3 – October 5, 2012 – Affected about 0.3 percent of searches
  • Penguin 2.0 – May 22, 2013 – Affected about 2.3 percent of searches
  • Penguin 2.1 – October 4, 2013 – Affected about 1 percent of searches

This Week We’re Talking about PageRank

Earlier this week, Cutts made another statement on Twitter saying he would be “surprised” if an update was made to PageRank before 2014. The last update to Google Toolbar PageRank occurred on February 4, 2013 and many are starting to think that PageRank is coming to an end – and for good reason.

Google chose not to offer a Toolbar or any other ad-on for Chrome that would show PageRank values. In June 2011 Google dropped the Toolbar from Firefox altogether. The only browser that still offers Google Toolbar is Internet Explorer, but apparently it hasn’t been updated in more than 6 months and the latest version of the browser doesn’t allow it.

Time will only tell if Google makes news in the SEO community again next week.