Even though Matt Cutts is still away Google have been busy! Here’s our quick summary of the most important items of search news this month.
Google updates Panda plus 890 other changes
The 8th of August saw an unconfirmed Panda refresh; while these refreshes are supposed to be on an ongoing monthly cycle this one seemed larger than most and so worth noting.
Google also announced that they have made more than 890 updates to their algorithm and other search tools this year! This shows the dangers of just focusing on one or two updates and ignoring the rest and we in the SEO world need to keep all the updates in mind when making changes to sites and link profiles.
Google authorship and rank
This month Google confirmed that Google Authorship is dead but tests show that Author Rank is still alive and kicking. Google authorship was where authors could link their post to their Google+ profile to enable a small profile picture of the author appear in the search results, while popular John Muller revealed that Google had to remove this function due to its incompatibility with other Google updates.
On the other hand Google Rank, the score Google uses to help judge whether an author is trust worth or not and therefore where one of their articles should rank is still running. However don’t pay too much attention to this as it only plays a very small part in the ranking metrics but that doesn’t meant that it won’t become more important in the future.
Secure site ranking boost
Not too long ago Google engineer, John Muller, confirmed that having a secure site was not a ranking factor. However not long after Matt Cutts revealed that he had been lobbying to change this and it looks like he won his fight and Google now give a slight boost to sites that use https.
Https sites are a more secure version of normal http sites, but before you rush off to get your webmaster to change your site you need to remember that changing from http to https is the same a changing domain name and needs to be treated as such. This may mean the risks of changing over outweigh the benefits so be careful!
Google guidelines update
Google have updated their webmaster guidelines to encompass what it calls spammy “low-quality guest blog posts”. This follows a number of high profile penalties being leveled against guest blog sites and networks. Everyone in the SEO world knew that this method was “dead” and this inclusion in the guidelines only confirms it.
Google’s DMCA burden
This month saw a record month for DMCA takedown requests with 7.8 million requests in one week alone.
A DMCA takedown request is made when someone wants to protect their copy written material and Google is being held ever more responsible for ensuring that it does not index content that may breach copy write law. However 7.8 million request is a lot and it would be interesting to see how Google handles this if this level of request remains constant.
Google vrs German publishers
As we mentioned a couple of months ago a group of German publishers have an issue with Google News and believe that it is an abuse of market power. However their efforts to do something about it have taken a knock this month after regulators found insufficient coercion by Google to justify an anti-trust action.
Since Google first unleashed its attack Penguin out in to cyber-space negative SEO has become a larger concern. This is where someone can deliberately set up bad links to your site in an effort to get it penalised.
At first Google dismissed these claims but they have had to change their stance and this month they advised that webmasters should keep a close eye on their backlinks and then use the disavow tool to control the links pointing to their sites.
More link networks removed
Google announced through Johannes Mehlem of the google search quality team that it has taken down two link networks in the Europe this month. Google has said that site owners will have been notified through webmaster tools if they have been affected.
That’s everything for this month, if you want more details about anything I’ve mention above just leave a comment below and let me know!