Google Updates: Recap 2012

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On the eve of the last same numerical date for an entire millennium comes upon us, I thought it would be a good idea to update the blog with about the important Google updates for 2012. This was originally posted on PlattForm Ad’s blog.

Important Google Updates: 2012 Recap

2012 was quite a year. We saw the Fab Five take gold in London. People became obsessed with and viewed the infectious hit Gangnam Style more than 158 million times. The world watched as an Austrian skydiver stood near the cusp of outer space and set a world record for skydiving. We also saw Google make several (hundred) updates and changes throughout the year.

Keeping informed on the latest changes from Google is the only way to ensure that your website is fully optimized and compliant. So what changes did Google make this past year? Let’s take a look at some of the important Google algorithm changes so far in our 2012 recap.

January – Search + Your World
Google pushed out personalized search, which displays public and private content from your Google+ profile to be shown in its search results. Questions about privacy issues arose. This marked Google’s push in the social realm.

February – Venice
In order to get more organic local search results, Google announced an update code-named “Venice.” Websites began to show in local search results without having a location modifier.

May – Knowledge Graph
In an effort to provide more accurate search results and to better understand user intent, Google rolled out the Knowledge Graph, supplemental content displayed about people, places and things. Google “Chuck Norris” and you might find biographical content from Wikipedia and, perhaps, some additional facts like “Chuck Norris doesn’t wear a watch – he decides what time it is.”

May – Penguin
May was a busy month for Google. The first update for the Penguin algorithm was released. Targeting webspam and over optimization, Penguin affected more than 3 percent of search results. Penguin focuses on keyword stuffing, duplicate content and unnatural linkbuilding. Unfortunately, since this is part of Google’s algorithm change and not a manual update, if your website was affected by Penguin, Google won’t reconsider your website until the next update to fix the penalty.

August – DMCA Penalty
Google announced that they would start penalizing websites who repeatedly violated copyright laws.

August – Seven Results in SERPs
Google made a change that displayed only seven results for many search queries instead of 10 results that were usually shown. According to SEOmoz, this impacted around 18 percent of keywords. This is a significant change that makes keyword tracking all the more important.

So what’s next for 2013 – Platypus update? Whatever may come, it is important to continue to follow Google’s guidelines and keep updated on Google algorithm changes. Having a compliant and well-optimized website will ensure that you aren’t scrambling every time a big update comes out.

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