This month has been a big month in the world of SEO, mainly due to the long awaited refresh of Googles Penguin algorithm.

Penguin 3

This biggest piece of news this month is that after over a year Google have finally released the long expected Penguin 3 update… well sort of anyway. Rather than an “update”, i.e. adding new features, it appears that this is a “refresh”, or a re-run of their existing Penguin algorithm.
This refresh will be a slow roll out over the next few weeks and so it will take some time to see the full impact of the refresh.

Panda 4.1

As we reported last month Google released Panda 4.1 but it appears it wasn’t a one hit wonder but has been slowly rolling out over the whole internet over a number of weeks. This has meant that the impacts have been hard to pin point and separate them from the general SEO background noise.
However what we do know is that they are continuing to target:

  • Thin content
  • Duplicate content, especially when there are large amount of it.
  • Machine generated or “spun” content.

What does this mean for your site? To protect against Panda you need to ensure that your site has:

  • High quality content
  • Has a good user-experience
  • Optimise every page and if a page has no value then remove it.

Google Updates

Google Pirate Update

Google announced this month that it would be updating their “Pirate Update” for the first time in 2 years. The update focuses on sites that are deemed to be violating copyright law.

WMT update

Google updated their guidelines which included a warning about blocking CSS and Javascript files on your site.

Site Links

Google have released a new meta tag to allow people to remove pages, or prevent pages from ever appearing, in Google’s site links areas. This is a great improvement on the previous tool that allowed webmasters to make a “suggestion” to Google to “demote” sitelinks in the search results.

Google Toolbar PageRank Dead

This month Jon Mueller from Google said that Google will probably not update Google’s Toolbar PageRank. It was last updated in December 2013 but Matt Cutts revealed that it was a “mistake” and they hadn’t meant to! I think it’s safe to say that Toolbar PageRank is now dead.

Bing Changes

Bing have been making some changes recently, the two biggest ones are that Duane Forrester, Bings Webmaster outreach manager has been sacked along with others in shake up at Microsoft. Bing have also announced that, unlike Google, they will not be giving any SEO boost to sites that use HTTPS.

Cutts Watch

Matt Cutts has been on extended leave since July 2014 and he recently announced that the Web Spam Team is doing fine with him so he’s going to remain off until at least 2015. Nice work if you can get it!