2013 was one of the most impactful years on the SEO industry in recent history. From the Panda updates early in the year to the crushing Penguin 2.0 in May to the launch of the Hummingbird Google algorithm in August, the full encryption of Google organic search data beginning in September, and Penguin 2.1 in October, the search engines had digital marketing professionals working overtime to keep up with the changing landscape and in many cases business owners losing more than half their market overnight.
3 Most Impactful Updates in 2013:
- Penguin 2.0-2.1: As if Pengiun 2.0 didn’t cause enough mayhem in the SEO community, along came the next chapter of the Penguin saga. Some sites that survived Penguin 2.0 were hit while many that were already affected by 2.0 suffered further damage by 2.1. The result of these Google algorithm updates is the need for sites affected to actively clean up their link profiles. An effort must be made to identify links hindering performance and/or leading to penalties and manually reach out to the hosts to request removal. This is the only way to recover any performance lost in the updates.
- Google Keyword Data Encryption: With 80+ percent of organic search data not providing the actual referring keyword data, the sample size is now too small to really make informed strategic decisions based on keyword-level data alone. Rather, in order to make the right decisions, a shift needs to occur from analyzing keyword-level data to leveraging alternate data points and sources such as page-level data.
- Google’s Hummingbird Algorithm Launch: As a result of Google’s new algorithm launch, a great deal of focus must also be placed on effective content development. Specifically, content strategies must be adjusted in such a way that produces answers common questions a particular business’s consumer base is looking to have answered. More of a focus on locally targeted content must also be established as results are now more localized.