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Google Updates: A Look Back at 2014

2014 was a pretty good year for Google updates as far as casino affiliates were concerned. Despite a few tweaks to Penguin and Payday Loan, most white hat players were spared from any major chaos from the big brains at Google.

But just because Google’s algorithm updates didn’t have affiliates tearing out their hair, they’re still worth knowing about. Here’s a look back at some of 2014’s big Google updates that everyone should at least know something about.

Top Heavy/Page Layout 3 – Sites with above-the-fold advertising were the target of this update that hit in the first week of February. Remember, Google wants end-users to see quality content, and nothing but quality content, as soon as a page loads. So keep those advertisements downstairs.

Unnamed Update – In the last week of March Google made good on its promise to stop naming and announcing updates with this anonymous update. Some sources suggested the update was Panda-related, but no one knows for sure. All anyone really knows is that something rolled out and plenty of SEOs noticed it.

Payday Loan 2.0 – The first of two big updates in May, Payday Loan did have an impact on gambling sites that relied on spammy queries. Of course sketchy, UK-based payday loan services and porno sites were Payday Loan’s biggest targets. Payday loan also had a huge impact on mainstream sites with sloppy SEO practices, such as eBay.

Panda 4.0 – This Panda update rolled out simultaneously with Payday Loan and impacted a whopping 7% of all English language queries. iGaming affiliate boards didn’t light up like they did when the original Panda hit, suggesting that the gambling world has received the message about quality content.

Payday Loan 3.0 – Google delivered a follow-up punch to its May Payday Loan just a month after Payday Loan 2.0. In short, the search giant is very serious about cracking down on spammy queries.

Pigeon – Aimed mostly at tightening best practices at the local search level, Google’s Pigeon update wasn’t much of a problem for Internet-based gambling world when it launched in June.

So Long Authorship – After removing author photos in June, Google deliver the death blow to Authorship in August. The company says the move was made to help improve mobile search results. In reality, the Authorship concept never really caught on with authors.

Panda 4.1 – Google rolled out Panda 4.1 so slowly it seemed more like a sloth than a bear, but the impact was definitely by web publishing bottom-feeders. Around 3%-5% of all English language queries felt this Panda’s punch.

Penguin 3.0 – This long-awaited follow-up to the link-killing Penguin updates of years past didn’t have quite the impact many SEOs were hoping for. Only about 1% of all queries were impacted, which left Penguin’s previous victims wondering whether all that repair work was worth the effort.

Pirate 2.0 – Unless you’re hosting bootleg versions of Runner, Runner or Kenny Rogers’ The Gambler, you probably weren’t impacted by this update aimed at bootleg content.