The world of search went through a bit of change this month with a couple of major Google updates, some high profile penalties and other updates from across the web.
Google Payday Loan 2.0
On the 20th of May 2014 Google confirmed that they had released their latest version of Google Payday Loan over the weekend and numbered it 2.0. The original update was released back on the 11th of June 2013 and targeted “very spammy queries”, typically these are links with highly optimised anchor text and links that had been paid for.
The news of Pay Day Loan 2.0 had barely time to sink in and Matt Cutts then confirmed that Panda 4.0 had been released on the 20th of May 2014. This was a most significant update then the rolling monthly Panda updates that we had been seeing until then.
To read more about Google’s Panda 4.0 update click here.
Now that the dust has settled a little it has become clear that there are winners and losers. The main losers have been Press Release sites and e-commerce sites with very thin or duplicate content.
Google confirm no Penguin update
On the 28th of May 2014 a lot of webmasters that had been hit by Penguin have been asking if there was a penguin update, some showing clear evidence that their sites had seen major changes. However Google have confirmed that they have not updated Penguin, in fact they say that they did not release any updates on that day.
High Profile Penalties
Google have not only been carrying out algorithmic changes but have also continued dishing out manual penalties as well. This month they took action against two big brands, Meta Filter and Ebay.
This just shows that it’s not only the small sites that they target. However that being said I am sure that these sites will be released fairly quickly.
Other news in the World of Search
Although news of updates have dominated the World of Search this month we can’t ignore other developments that have been happening. This month also saw the release of Googles “Right to be forgotten form”. This is a form that anyone can fill out if they find personal information indexed in Google that they want removed and have been unable to get the webmaster where the information lives to remove it. Although Google have reserved the right to refuse the request if they deem the information to be in the public interest.
Duck Duck Go
The young Turk of the search engine world Duck Duck Go have updated the visuals of their search engine to rave reviews. They have started to make an impact with their pledge not to sort any personal details or browsing habits. We really like it here and think that you should check it out.
Bing have come out to say that everyone should be using structured data and Schema.org on their sites. While they stopped for of saying that it helps rankings Bing said that it improves the experience for search engine spiders as well as users and they are seeing a higher click through rate for sites that use it.
Microsoft not going to sell Bing
Also Microsoft have confirmed that they are not going to sell Bing and that it makes up one of their core businesses.
As well as being busy with the launch of Panda 4.0 and the Pay Day Loan 2.0 update Cutts has released a video saying that backlinks will become less important over time. He said that Google are aiming to replace a reliance on links to guide the algorithm on whether a site or page are relevant and authorative on a subject and instead look at who wrote the article, do they have a good reputation as well as using natural language to see what the page is about and is it an authority. (He used the example of the computers on Star Trek! However he did confirm that until they have cracked this links will still be used to assess the basic reputation of pages and sites and will be for the next few years.