Google algorithm updates are a regular feature of the SEO landscape and October, 2012 provided a good deal of them. Between Panda, EMD and Penguin, Matt Cutts and his minions at the Webspam team were very busy.

Here’s a recap of the October Google updates:

  • EMD Update – The Exact Match Domain (EMD) update was rolled out throughout the month but its impact could be limited. In general, the SEO media seems to think that unless you’re stuffing content with that same EMD, this update shouldn’t cause too much trouble.
  • Page Layout Update – Google’s customers really don’t like seeing anything but content on the top half of the page, so that’s what Google wants webmasters to deliver. This was the first time Google has officially updated this design-focused algorithm.
  • Penguin 3 – Despite Cutts’ promises of a, “jolting and jarring,” Penguin update, this one didn’t cause much of an uproar. In fact, according Cutts’ Weather Report Tweet, only 0.3% of English language queries were impacted.  (That doesn’t mean jarring and jolting won’t happen some time in the near future.)
  • Panda and Panda Rumors – Panda, one of Google’s most significant updates ever, had a fairly significant update this month that impacted as many as 2.4% of English language queries. This was the 20th update for the content-oriented algorithm.

Moving Forward

Google’s SEO road map for the coming months, and years, is pretty clear. The emphasis on improved content, backlinks and social signals is only going to increase over time. On top of that, expect to see a lot more talk about Author Rank, too.

While SEOs and webmasters may dismiss Author Rank as something that only benefits writers, it’s actually beneficial to everyone. Sites that can find authors with a high ranking in their niches will share the benefit of increased exposure and page rank.

It’s also safe to say that Penguin isn’t going anywhere anytime soon either. Though Google did release their Disavow Links Tool in October, it’s been billed as a tool of last resort for sites that have already been penalized. Cutts, and others, seem to think that building more good links is a better use of time than removing bad links.

Were you impacted by Google updates last month? Share your experiences in the comments section below.

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