SEO and Google Algorithms in 2012 : A Year in Review

The year 2012 is all set to be a page of history book now. And as we have always seen, the year we lived has left us with good and some bad memories as well. From the SEO professional’s perspective, the year 2012 has been a year of major ups and downs since the search engine giant Google kept rolling out minor and major updates to its search engine algorithms.

And at the end of the year, to make you take a quick and easy look back at biggest happenings in search engine optimisation and to Google algorith, we have collected some pieces and have put them together. Here they are!! (Sources: Google Blog and SEOMoz Blog)

Here are some of the major updates to Google search algorithm in 2012:-

Updates to Knowledge Graph — December 4, 2012Updates to Knowledge Graph — December 4, 2012
Google launched an update to its Knowledge Graph early December by adding KG functionality to some international, non-English languages like French, German, Spanish, Italian and couple more.

Page Layout #2 — October 9, 2012
In second week of the October 2012, Google updated its page layout algorithm which was originaly launched back in January. The update targeted pages with too many ads above the fold. Although it is widely unclear whether it was an algo update or a Panda-style data refresh.

Exact-Match Domain (EMD) Update — September 27, 2012
A headache to webmasters and domain companies known as EMD – Exact Match Domain update. It was the change in the way they handle exact-match domains (EMDs). This created a havoc for webmasters that were having web domains with targeted keywords.

7-Result SERPs — August 14, 2012
In mid August 2012, Google made a remarkable change to the Top 10 in SERP, limiting it to 7 results for many queries.
DMCA Penalty — August 10, 2012
Just before the 7 Result SERP update, Google announced that they would start penalizing sites with frequent cases of copyright violations. This was called DMCA Penalty update.

Link Warnings — July 19, 2012
In mid July 2012, Google started sending out warnings to webmasters that were having unnatural links via Google Webmasters tool.

Knowledge Graph — May 16, 2012
Making semantic search more transparent, Google rolled out Knowledge Graph, a SERP-integrated display providing supplemental object about certain people, places, and things.

Penguin — April 24, 2012
This proved to be the year’s most painful update and a nightmare for webmasters and SEO professionals. In an update that was called Penguin update, Google hammered sites with “Over-optimization”, and officially called in “Webspam Update”, which was soon after dubbed “Penguin.” Soon after the update, the internet forums and social media platforms were pounded discussing whether the update was a dose of pain or gain for webmaster, because while many webmasters felt that they were made scapegoat, Google claimed it to be a big bonus for high quality websites and webmasters.

Parked Domain Bug — April 16, 2012
Amidst constant search algorithm updates, Google happened to trigger an error or a bug that made webmasters go crazy. The bug was called as Parked Domain Bug which (mistakenly) considered many domains as parked domains and thus devalued them in search engine.

Another panda update — February 27, 2012
Google rolled out another post-“flux” Panda update, which was a minor algorithm update.

Venice — February 27, 2012
Triggering the buzz of “Local SEO” Google’s Venice update proved to be a local update and appeared to more aggressively localize organic results and more tightly integrate local search data. The exact roll-out date was unclear.

February 17-Pack — February 3, 2012
Google released another round of “search quality highlights” that was combined with 17 updates in it, but the most important was the tighter integration of Panda into the main search index.

Ads Above The Fold — January 19, 2012
Triggering fresh attack towards sites with high number of space occupied with ads above the fold, Google made an update to their page layout algorithms and devalued sites with too much ad-space above the “fold”. Some SEO professional called it “Top Heavy” update.

Search + Your World — January 10, 2012
Beginning the new year with all new, fresh update, Google announced a major shift in personalization – aggressively pushing Google+ social data and user profiles into SERPs. Google also added a new, prominent toggle button to shut off personalization.

What was your experience as an SEO professional and webmaster in the year of 2012? Do you feel that Google has been on right track towards making web a better place? Do you have something to share with us? Post it to comment box below! Happy Holidays!

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