September 2014’s SEO headlines included a major Panda update that impacted some very specific industries; a Google assault on private blog networks; and plenty of comings and goings from the big search engine shops.
In short, everyone in the SEO world came back from their summer vacations rested and ready to get back to business. Here are a few of the headlines that impacted SEO watchers last month.
Panda 4.1 Rolls Out – Late in the month Google began what Matt Cutts’ pro tem replacement Pierre Far refers to as a slow roll out of Panda 4.1. This latest incarnation of the Panda definitely packed a punch and impacted somewhere between 3%-5% of queries. Far also said that Panda 4.1 was aimed at rewarding high quality, small-to-medium sites, though whether that’s true or not remains to be seen.
Panda 4.1 Winners & Losers – As Panda 4.1’s slow roll out unfolded it became clear that aggregator sites, especially those that focus on lyrics, games, and medical advice were hit especially hard. Since these types of sites aren’t exactly know for high quality, original content, this isn’t too surprising.
Google Pounds Private Blog Networks – If you thought that hiding unnatural links behind a private blog network was a good Penguin workaround, you need to find a new strategy. Google cracked down hard on private blog networks (PBN) last month, issuing hundreds – possibly thousands – of manual action notifications in the process. It’s yet another indication of how serious the search giant is about tackling thin content.
Google Authorship is Dead, Long Live Author Rank – If you were considering removing all those rel=author and rel=me tags in the wake of Google Authorship’s recent demise, you might want to think again. There’s been plenty of speculation in the SEO world that those tags may retain some value in the form of Author Rankings. It turns out that Google, and other search engines, may still be including authorship as a ranking component; though its impact is believed to be fairly minor.
China Blocks DuckDuckGo – Upstart search engine DuckDuckGo may not get recognized much by the general public, but it definitely caught the eye of the Chinese government. Last month DuckDuckGo was blocked from the tightly controlled Chinese internet. It turns out the big wigs running China aren’t exactly big fans of web privacy. Don’t feel bad about it DuckDuck…Google is banned in China, too.
R.I.P. Yahoo! Directory – After twenty years of pointing the way for weary web users, Yahoo! Directory is finally being put it rest. The directory was Yahoo!’s original product and helped bring the now struggling search brand to the forefront of the 90’s internet boom.