Google’s Been Busy At The Zoo

In the past few weeks Google has been pretty busy.  They’ve released updates to Penguin and Panda (twice) and launched a new update related to Exact Match Domains (EMDs).

Definition – Exact Match Domain (EMD):
An exact match domain is a domain name that exactly matches a keyword.  For example, exactly matches the keyword “books”.  Previously, Google gave a lot of weight to a website with an exact match, but they have been reducing the value of exact match domains for a while and now have released an update specifically to address poor quality, spammy sites that appear to have bought exact match domains just for SEO.  Quality sites with brand recognition that have exact match domains have not been affected much, if at all.  Google’s Exact Match Domain update is most likely going to be recurring with regular updates just like Panda and Penguin.

Chaos for the Sake of Chaos:
In years past, Google would release a one algorithm change at a time.  At first they did it in secret and would verify they’d done it while everyone was trying to figure out which way was up.  Then they got really nice and started letting us know that they were about to release and update or that they just had (within a day or so).

But now Google seems to have a new method, at least when it comes to major updates.  When they launched the Penguin update this Spring, they also did a Panda update and several minor updates.  Now, in just the past few weeks, Google released a Penguin update, two Panda updates, and launched the EMD update.  It would seem Google’s philosophy on bigger updates is to release several within a few days so no one can figure out what hit them.  In theory this could lead to people being more apt to follow Google’s rules and less able to find a shortcut around the new update.  In practice it also has the effect of leaving webmasters confused if they find their rankings lowered as they don’t know which update(s) hit them and thus what aspect of their site Google didn’t like.

It’s Not Too Bad:
While Google did release several updates, most weren’t that big.  The first Panda update only affected 0.7% of searches and the Penguin update only affected 0.3% of searches.  The EMD update only affected sites with exact match domains to major keywords, and then only low quality EMD sites were affected.  The second Panda update, however, was pretty big by Google standards, affecting 2.4% of all searches.  But even with that update, we’re talking about Panda, an algorithm filter that’s been around for a long time (this is it’s 20th update).  So, there shouldn’t be too many surprises.  This update mostly affected people who thought they’d somehow sneaked by unscathed from the previous Panda updates even though they had poor content.

So, all in all, even thought Google’s been pretty busy, it should affect most sites.

Bing, on the other hand, has been relatively quiet.  They just announced a deal with to better enhance their social features, but that’s about it.  It’s not clear yet how the partnership with Klout will affect things, but we’ll keep our eye on it.

6 Responses to “Google’s Been Busy At The Zoo”

  1. I think the key, especially for "Christian SEO", is just provide high quality content. Write for users, tag for search engines. Encourage discussion socially.

    • I think you're generally right, Justin, but I think you have to be very proactive about it as well if you want to compete. You have to get your content out there. You also need to be optimizing your content as you go. Otherwise, competition can beat you out or, if you're new to your niche, you may never even show up on the radar.

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