Google Panda: A Look Back at 2011

After a turbulent year of changes to Google’s Guidelines, we have finally reached the end … or at least a good break. That’s right – Google announced via its’ Twitter feed recently that it will not be making any more updates to its algorithms until the New Year.

This news has come with mixed emotions to most online retailers and gambling sites whose owners I have since spoken to. On the one hand, those who have been working hard to keep up to date with the punishing changes that have been occurring are delighted to finally earn a well-deserved Christmas and New Year break. On the other hand, however, many sites that were penalized in the most recent November update, were hoping for a reprieve in time for 2012. Well, unfortunately for those of you who were hoping for Google to suddenly turn round and apologise for its’ most recent transgressions – its’ a no go.

Back in 2003, several very large online retailers were left fuming when Google updated its’ search engine ranking algorithm with the ‘Florida update.’ Rather than just leaving small ripple effects to its’ top pages – it effectively replaced most of the top 10 positions for most keywords with nonsensical options or results that didn’t quite ‘add up,’ leaving a lot of retailers to fend for themselves in what was a very bad year for most. Ever since this event happened, Google seems to have decided to undergo a ‘quiet patch’ this time of year to make sure that no further ‘incidents’ occur.

Rather than go on about Google’s apparent lack of new updates – I thought I’d give everyone a chance to reminisce about the various changes that we’ve endured this past year.

January 28, 2011: First sniff of an update when scrapers and spammers were hit first

February 23, 2011: Panda goes live and affects sites with low content or poor content the hardest

March 30, 2011: +1 goes live and Google begins its’ next attempt at tackling Social Media

April 11, 2011: Panda 2.0 issued to all English-speaking sites across the World

May 9, 2011: Panda 2.1 Minor changes released by Google just reinforcing the Panda update

June 2, 2011: Search Engines collaborate to give more ‘structured’ data

June 21, 2011: Panda 2.2 goes into effect – just further impacting on poor content sites

June 28, 2011: Google+ is launched in response to Facebook’s ever expanding presence

July 23, 2011: Panda 2.3 – just more of the before stuff

August 12, 2011: Panda 2.4 meant that Panda was rolled out on a Global scale

August 16, 2011: Site Links Expanded in Google Results

September 15, 2011: Pagination changes including the introduction of rel=”prev” and rel=”next”

September 28, 2011: Panda 2.5 – People still don’t know what it’s for, but ‘same again’ resounded (In case you missed it, check out what the update meant for gaming affiliates!)

October 5, 2011: Panda fluctuates affecting another small segment of websites

October 18, 2011: Search results encrypted – doesn’t have the desired effect

November 3, 2011: Google releases its’ ‘Freshness’ update – one of the largest they have done

November 14, 2011: Another few algorithm changes by Google – not much damage done

November 18, 2011: Panda turns 3! Updates happen more frequently on the same note as before

December 1, 2011: Freshness update release – minor algorithm changes and more Panda stuff

And that’s about where we are now. So in the meantime – enjoy the minor resting period, or lament it if it isn’t good, but fear not as 2012 will surely bring a load more changes – both welcome and not

Here’s to Google – Just like Marmite … we love to hate it!

About the Author:

Daniel Laming spent over two years working as an affiliate manager for GTech and Red Interactive, but recently decided to pursue a role as a full-time affiliate working on website BigGainsNoPains with a team of 5, focusing on Online Casino and Online Bingo offers.