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Google SEO Updates Q1 2013

Google SEO updates in the first quarter of 2013 included a couple Panda rollouts and a bombshell announcement from Matt Cutts.

As usual, Cutts dropped plenty of hints about impending updates and SEO forums were filled with rumors. The only thing that made Q1 really special is that it may have been the last time we see big, noticeable algo updates from Google.

Here’s a roundup of the the last three months worth of SEO/Google Algorithm updates.

  • Panda 24 – Late in the month Google rolled out the 24th Panda update/refresh and, as is usually the case, it impacted around 1.3% of all English language queries. Panda updates have been one of the more reliable Google refreshes, but really don’t pack the punch they once did.
  • January 17 Event – Though Panda updates are routine, sometime around the 17th, SEO forums lit up with reports of significant Page Rank drops and gains. Whether this was some kind of prelude to the Panda update, or something else entirely, remains to be seen. Whatever it was, it impacted SEOs a lot more than Panda 24.
  • PageRank Toolbar Update – In the first week of February Google rolled out a pretty big PageRank Toolbar update. Though Toolbar updates are not the same as Google’s search algorithm updates, they’re still a pretty big deal to SEOs.
  • Panda 25 – Sometime between the 18th and 20th of March, Panda 25 was unleashed on the world. Like most Panda updates, #25 impacted just over 1% of all English language queries.
  • The End of Panda as We Know it? – While Panda #25 was a big nothing burger for most affiliates, it was still pretty significant. According to comments Cutts made at a Santa Clara trade show, Panda 25 was the last announced officially announced update we’ll ever see. He says future updates will be rolled into regular indexing process will be a lot less visible.

What It Means for Affiliates

The end of officially announced Panda updates is bit like the old, “If a tree falls in the forest…,” question from philosophy 101. If Panda updates and no one knows about it, will anyone care?

Secrecy has long been a part of Google’s strategy for dealing with SEOs and this latest move show that strategy isn’t changing anytime soon. The search engine giant clearly wants webmasters to stop thinking about SEO and focus on user-friendly content.

While that plan might look good on paper, it won’t do much to squash the SEO rumor mill that thrives on any number of affiliate and SEO forums.

Were you impacted by any of these updates? Share your experiences in the comments section below.