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Google Algorithm SEO Updates & Changes of 2014

1. 6th Feb 2014 – Top Heavy

Google Applied the third refresh of their Page layout algorithm. Which filters out pages that have too many ads above the fold and require users to scroll down to see content. While “too many ads” remains subjective. We’ve seen a good many ad-strewn sites take note.

2. 24th March 2014 - Unknown Update

There was widespread chatter on webmaster forums about movement in the SERP and speculation was rife that Google had released a “Soft Panda” update. However. This was never confirmed or denied by Google.

3. 16th May 2014 – Payday Loan 2.0

This was the second major update of Google’s Payday Loan algorithm, and targeted Spammy sites that tried to rank for queries deemed spammy by Google. The big daddy of these querises is “Payday loans” after which the update is named.

4. 20th May 2014 – Panda 4.0

Google’s Web spam head Matt cutts tweeted to confirm the rollout of Panda 4.0 even though Google had earlier announced that they wouldn’t be doing so anymore. That led to the conclusion that about 7.5% English-language queries were affected.

5. 12th June 2014 – Payday loan 3.0

Close on the heels of the Payday loan 2.0 update. Google hit spammer again with version 3.0. This time they expanded the number and scope of queries that they considered spammy.

6. 25th June 2014 – Authorship Photo Removal

John Mueller of Google suddenly announced that they would drop photos of authors associated with articles that ranked in the SERPs. Google cited “a better mobile experience and a more consistent design across devices” as reasons for this change.

7. 24th July 2014 – Pigeon

With their first ever update targeted at local search factors. Google said that they had integrated local results better with their core algorithm. 7-pack local results gave way to 3-Pack results.

8. 6th Aug 2014 – HTTPS/SSL

To reinforce their commitment to security. Google announced a rankings boost to sites that adopted HTTPS encryption by default. Though the signal was said to be lightweight at the time, the option to strengthen it in future was left open.

9. 28th Aug 2014 – Authorship Removed

Two months after dropping author photos from the search results. Google declared they would get rid of authorship markup entirely and stop processing authorship.

10. 23rd Sept 2014 – Panda 4.1

Google announced a Panda update and said it would impact 3-5% of search queries, depending on the location. They also said they had incorporated more signals to identify low – quality content more precisely.

11. 1st Oct 2014 – “In the News” Box

Google started showing more news results with tweets. Reddit, blog posts, videos and articles from non-news sites. The change upset major news publishers.

12. 17th Oct 2014 – Penguin 3.0

After much anticipation and more than a year after its previous penguin update (2.1) Google started rolling out a refresh. While penguin 3.0 did not have a very hard impact. The jury is still out on whether it has finished rolling out.

13. 21st Oct 2014 – Pirate 2.0

In another version 2.0 update this year. Google launched the pirate / DMCA update to combat software and media piracy. Torrent sites known for pirated media download were specifically targeted and saw dramatic drops in rankings.

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