2014 in Review: Major Updates from Google Over the Past Year

Google provided the SEO industry with several important updates in 2014. Here are some of the more notable headlines in the SEO industry over the past year:

Panda 4.0  – May 2014

Google released its 26th update to Panda (4.0) this past May.

Panda evaluates websites based on the quality of their content. One of the core components of the update was to penalize websites with low-quality or duplicate content. Panda 4.o was reported to affect about 7.5% of all search queries.

Google Pigeon Update – July 2014

Google’s newest algorithm update, Pigeon, deals with local SEO. The update was released in an effort to provide more accurate and useful local search results for users.

Google Discontinues Authorship – August 2014

For some time, Google Authorship was an important tool used by many  to promote themselves as thought-leaders in a given industry. The feature essentially allowed users to link their Google+ account to their blog posts, adding a face and name to any posts that indexed in search results. In August, Google decided to end Authorship altogether, claiming it lacked enough user adoption to continue supporting it.

Panda 4.1 – September 2014

Just a few months after Panda 4.0 was rolled out, Google released Panda 4.1. Google added a few more ranking signals to better identity websites with poor-quality content. According to Google, Panda 4.1 affected about 3-5% of search queries.

Penguin 3.0 – October 2014

In addition to updating its Panda algorithm, Google also decided to release an update to Penguin. Whereas Panda penalizes low-quality content, Penguin penalizes sites with poor or spammy backlinks. 3.0 was just the sixth update to Penguin, and was reported to affect only 1% of queries.

Of course, there were several other important SEO updates in 2014, and 2015 will likely continue to be a busy year. Specifically, many believe Google will release an algorithm update to reward or penalize websites based on their mobile-friendliness.

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