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Google SEO Updates: October 2014

October 2014’s SEO news was dominated by the long-promised arrival of Google’s link-killing Penguin refresh.

While Penguin 3.0 is definitely big news, it was hardly the only big news out of the SEO/Google world. The massive search company turned its eye towards internet pirates with a (non-animal-named) anti-piracy update, too.

And speaking of colorful characters, reports came out last month that SEO oracle Matt Cutts may be out of the picture longer than we first thought.

Here’s a quick look at the SEO headlines that impacted your business last month.

Penguin 3.0 Rolls Out – On October 17th Google began a slow roll out of their much-anticipated Penguin 3.0 refresh. Unlike previous Penguin updates, this one could actually be good news for sites that have invested in Penguin-related clean up efforts, but haven’t seen positive results yet.

While the refresh is welcome news for white hat SEOs, it also has many of them asking why Google waited so long to reward their repair efforts.

Google’s Expanding ‘In the News’ Box – Google’s In the News box is expanding its reach to include sources that are outside of the pre-approved Google News sources. This means well-read Internet news sources like Reddit can, and will, show up on this prime piece of Internet real estate.

It’s also meant that headlines with obscene words have shown up on In the News, but that’s another story. Congratulations on discovering the Internet, Google!

Mobile Experience Matters for Search Results – Say what you will about Google’s SEO policies, but it’s definitely a company that values its end-users in a major way. To that end, Google engineer Gary Illyes recently hinted that mobile experience could soon be a key signal in mobile search rankings.

While Illyes wouldn’t confirm dates or times for when Mobile-UX becomes a major signal, SEO sources confirm that Google bots are already taking a much deeper look at this particular factor.

Pirate 2.0 – Google is cracking down on Internet piracy with the roll out of Pirate 2.0. Pirate 2.0 sniffs out pirated content based on DMCA complaints (and other signals) and doles out punishments accordingly.

The algo update seems focused on sites with keywords like “download free movies” so casino affiliates shouldn’t feel much impact from it.

So if you’re still rocking a free download of Ben Affleck’s, Runner, Runner now’s the time to take it down.

Is Matt Cutts Done for Good? – Have you noticed Matt Cutts’ leave of absence from the Googleplex? He’s been out of the office since July and recently extended his time away until sometime in 2015.

Apparently Cutts thinks his staff is doing a bang-up job without him and is comfortable with the state of SEO in his absence.

Bing Webmaster Sent Packing – Are you familiar with Duane Forrester? He’s the Matt Cutts of the Bing world, but don’t get too attached to him. Microsoft sent Forrester a pink slip last month as part of their efforts to get someone to start using Bing. While there have been rumors that Forrester will take his talents to Google, no official word has come from either side.

Study Find Mobile Search is ‘All or Nothing’ Game – Were you just about finished stressing out about the fact that unless you’re on the first page of Google search return pages you might as well not be listed at all? Good.

Oh, by the way, a new study from seoClarity found that mobile search traffic goes primarily to the first listing. According to the study, the first listing on mobile search grabs about 27% of click-throughs while number two gets just 9%.

So you can add that to your list of worries.