A Retrospective of Google Link Algorithm History

Link building has served as an effective tool for online businesses. However, since link building and buying is being used so aggressively by site owners and webmasters, that Google constantly has to update quality guidelines to ensure that they don’t use links that pass the PageRank and violate Google’s policies. If the link passes the PageRank, it violates the quality guidelines and thus experiences consequences like reduction in visible PageRank in the Google Toolbar.

To maintain quality of link building and buying, Google keeps on changing and updating search algorithm every year. It rolls major changes in Google link algorithm every month that significantly affects search engine results.

Therefore, it’s important for businesses competing online to keep abreast of the changes to ensure they are aligned with the guidelines and achieve high search engine ranking. Here is a walkthrough of some major Google link algorithm in the year 2012:

January 2012

In January, Google announced 30 changes with respect to link algorithm. It included guidelines for quality detection, image search landing pages, rich snippets and relevant site links.

Search plus Your World – Introduction of Search + Your World, marked a radical change in personalization. It actively pushed user profiles and Google + social data into search engine page results.

Panda 3.2 –This was a Panda data update version which promised faster auto complete and cross language display. It allowed users to get search results in their own typing languages.

Ad Above The Fold – This was another Google link update which focused on page layout algorithm. This devalued the sites that occupied too much advertisement space above the fold.

February 2012

Google announced a long series of changes in February 2012. These Google updates were related to speed, spell-checks and originality. However, what shook many site owners was the tighter integration of Panda with respect to main search index.

Venice – Google link algorithm code name came out as an aggressive action. It localized organic results and integrated local search data tighter than ever.

Panda 3.3 – This was an updated version of 3.2 with minor changes.

March 2012

Search Quality Video – Although this was not particularly an algorithm update, it was important for anybody who was interested in link building. It provides guidelines for search quality videos.

Panda 3.4 – This Panda update impacted about 1.6% of search results. This was a strict action taken by Google against unnatural link building tactics.

April 2012

Panda 3.5, Parked Domain bug and Penguin were some of the Google link Algorithms for the month of April.

May 2012

Knowledge Graph  –  This was a proper search engine result page integrated display offering display of supplemental object about places, things and people. It was a good way to see your search engine ranking.

June 2012

Link warning and Panda 3.8 were strict measures taken by Google against link sellers and unnatural link building.

July 2012

Panda 3.9 – Introduction of Panda 3.9 was a heavy blow to the unnatural link builders. The ranking significantly fluctuated for 5-6 days.

August 2012

DMCA Penalty – This was a Google link Penalty that was announced to penalize sites for copyright infringement.

September 2012

Exact Match Domain – This Google algorithm caused a large scale devaluation and reduced the presence of MozCast data by more than 10%

October 2012

Page Layout  –  This was an update of page layout algorithm by Google. It again targeted and penalized web pages with too many ad links.

November 2012

Panda 21 and 22 were announced in November 2012 by Google. It affected 1.1% of the English queries.

December 2012

Panda 23 – This was launched before Christmas and affected about 1.3% of English queries. It has a higher impact as compared to Panda 21 and 22.

Predictions for 2013

2012 is long gone, and it is about time to look at what 2013 has in store, or at least should have in store for website owners. Since the change in policies, particularly Google’s policies, link builders are simply waiting for the next curve ball that will require a fresh start. The good news is the only ones that need to worry about this are the ones that have been using shortcuts to increase their Google rankings. With the increasing risks of Google penalties and Google Link algorithms, website owners are getting all the more cautious. Following are some expert predictions what most could dread, expect or hope for in 2013.

1.    Mobile Presence

Many websites today offer mobile versions too. However, it will become all the more essential in the future. So if your website does not already have a mobile version then it is about time that you went portal. With the increasing number of smartphone users and convenience available to them through millions of apps and mobile versions of websites, you will be missing out on a large chunk of prospective traffic. So the most essential prediction for 2013 as far as Google link update is concerned is undoubtedly the presence on portable devices.

2.    Social Link Building

Social websites have become paramount as far as the popularity of blogs, forums and websites are concerned. However, they are not a surefire way to determine the popularity of a website. For instance, a social networking page or a hash tag regarding a candy, a singer, or even a beauty blog is likely to have a huge following. However, the same cannot be said for a blog about hair removal tips or a porn star. It does not mean that these websites aren’t popular or not visited, but many will not be too keen on sharing the information or liking on social forums. So in 2013, hopefully there will be better ways to determine the popularity of a website based on how many “likes” or +1’s a website gets.

3.    Directories

There already are uncountable online directories available online, and perhaps more are to be anticipated. But not one of them is able to serve as a well rounded directory, and with the increasing number of websites available, it is quite difficult to provide one anyway. So, one wishful prediction for 2013 is that there will be specialized online directories which will cover specific topics and fields and provide useful information.

4.    Spammers

Online predictions are pretty much incomplete without the mention of spammers. So do expect an increasing number of those too. But hopefully Google penalties will offer stricter rules to regulate websites. Agencies offering instant higher search engine rankings will keep on offering more glorious packages which will do nothing but lead to Google link penalty.

So as with each turning year, this year too, be on the guard against spammers and know that Google link algorithms will keep on changing and the only way to effective link building will be to do it the right way.



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A Retrospective of Google Link Algorithm History

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