While Google Panda and Penguin have been in effect since 2011, the algorithms are routinely being updated. Then, Google lists the changes that are made in its search quality highlights report. In fact, the report reveals there were more than 65 changes made to Google Panda in August and September. But experts, including the SEO agency veterans at Search Engine Watch, are perplexed at which changes made it into Google’s search quality highlights, and which did not.
For instance, a much-publicized Panda update – the “exact match domain” or EMD update designed to penalize sites that attempt to trick Google into ranking them higher based on a domain name that contains a popular keyword – occurred on September 27, but it was not mentioned in the most recent search quality highlights report.
Of the changes listed in the search highlights report and the perceived omission of the EMD update, Miranda Miller of Search Engine Watch said, “Most are decidedly minor, a few stand out, and a couple major changes we know about seem to be missing entirely. Specifically, there is nary a word about the exact match domain update Google warned of on September 27. Why is this?”
According to a Google spokesperson (not Matt Cutts), “These changes rolled out very recently, and their launch language was approved after the cutoff date where we were finalizing the blog post. We tweeted these changes and were also planning to include those launches in future updates.” It is speculated that within the many “Page Quality” algorithm changes Google filed in September, one of them may refer to the September 27 EMD update.
There are, however, many interesting updates that are listed in the search quality highlights report. Here are those that fall under the ranking and indexing category, in Google’s own words:
- #82279. [project “Other Ranking Components”] We changed to fewer results for some queries to show the most relevant results as quickly as possible.
- #83709. [project “Other Ranking Components”] This change was a minor bug fix related to the way links are used in ranking.
- #82546. [project “Indexing”] We made back-end improvements to video indexing to improve the efficiency of our systems.
- #84010. [project “Page Quality”] We refreshed data for the “Panda” high-quality sites algorithm.
- #83777. [project “Synonyms”] This change made improvements to rely on fewer “low-confidence” synonyms when the user’s original query has good results.
If seeing these in print makes you nervous, you’re not alone. Many website owners are still struggling to understand what will get them penalized by Google Panda or Penguin, and what won’t. For some, the best solution for a Panda or Penguin problem that affects SEO is to hire a professional marketing firm or SEO agency. When you hire a firm staffed by SEO experts, those professionals can do the worrying for you, and make sure your content is free from anything that will affect your ranking and indexing. Crest Media is a Los Angeles SEO agency that can do this.