Ever year Google changes its search algorithm around 600 times. Does that mean that every time there’s a change you need to panic and re-do all of your SEO? Absolutely not. Most of these changes are minor and you will never see their affect on your site. However, there are normally a couple major updates a year that might affect some sites significantly. It’s because of these updates that the SEO has become more of a strategic position rather than a tactical position. The SEO must learn to anticipate Google’s next moves. In order to understand how the algorithm might change in the future, the SEO first needs to understand what it looks like right now.
Here is a list of the top 10 Google algorithm changes from 2014 that had the biggest impact on search:
1. Panda 4.1 (SEO) — September, 2014
Google announced a significant Panda update, which included an algorithmic component. They estimated the impact at 3-5% of queries affected. Google said this is friendly to smaller sites, “greater diversity of high-quality small- and medium-sized sites ranking higher,” Moz.com
2. Adwords Callouts Addition – (PPC) September, 2014
The callout ad extension lets you include additional text with your search ads that provide detailed information about your business, including products and services you offer.
Callouts appear in ads at the top and bottom of Google search results. You can add callouts when you create your campaign. You can edit your descriptive text, and see how ads that contain callouts perform in the Ad extensions tab.
3. Authorship Removed (SEO) — August, 2014
Following up on the June 28th drop of authorship photos, Google announced that they would be completely removing authorship markup (and would no longer process it). By the next morning, authorship bylines had disappeared from all SERPs.
4. HTTPS/SSL Update (SEO) — August, 2014
After months of speculation, Google announced that they would be giving preference to secure sites, and that adding encryption would provide a “lightweight” rankings boost.
They stressed that this boost would start out small, but implied it might increase if the changed proved to be positive.
5. Pigeon (SEO) — July, 2014
Local Listing Packs: One of the major changes noticed is a significant reduction in the number of queries which include a local listing pack on search engine results pages (SERPs).
6. Extensions affecting Quality Score (PPC) – July 2014
As a result of the changes (and success of extensions), the new algorithm adds a new ingredient into the pot. Google AdWords Ad Rank Algorithm will now be based on:
Maximum bid x Quality score + extension experience = your Ad Rank.
7. Payday Loan 3.0 (SEO) — June, 2014
Official statements suggested that 2.0 targeted specific sites, while 3.0 targeted spammy queries.
8. Google Shopping Campaigns Live (PPC) – February, 2014
On February 18th, Google announced that Shopping campaigns are officially out of beta and available to all advertisers around the world. The new campaign type provides a more retail centric way of targeting products, more robust reporting, and competitive insights.
9. Advanced Conversion Reporting (PPC) – February, 2014
At the end of February, you should have noticed a few new terms in your Adwords account. What was the conversions (one-per-click) and conversions (many-per-click) columns got replaced with converted clicks and conversions columns. This new way of counting conversions gives businesses the flexibility they need to report on what matters to them.
10. New Ad Formats (PPC) – July 2014
There are now new ad formats for Trueview on the AdMob network as well as new anchor ad formats for mobile devices.