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3 of Google’s Most Important Recent Changes

Google is constantly updating and making changes to each and every one of their services and apps including: Gmail, Google Maps, YouTube, Chrome, search engine algorithms, etc. Oftentimes we find these changes are geared toward the user in order to enhance the overall experience. Other times we’re left scratching our brains trying to figure out the reasoning behind their decision.

Everyone has different opinions on the all-encompassing Google world and how things are run. However, one thing all SEOs, content marketers, and digital marketers all agree on is that whether you favor any alterations they may or may not make, you better stay current on what’s happening. If you’re out of the loop, in some cases for even one day, you might spend the rest of your days playing catch up. We would like to save you the time of researching and reading numerous articles trying to find any changes you’ve missed and hand you three articles explaining the most recent and relevant Google changes to the digital marketing industry.

Google Announces the End of Author Photos in Search

  • Why?

John Mueller said they’re working to clean up and simplify the visual design of the SERPs while creating a “better mobile experience and a more consistent design across devices.”

As disappointing as this might be for so many writers around the world, it technically makes sense as the photo owns so much screen real estate on small devices like phones and tablets.

Google has attempted to convince us this was the right decision by saying the click-through-rate has remained the same since the update. The click-through behavior being the main reason they initiated the author photo in the first place, thinking that seeing a real person’s face might make you trust the source more.

Read John Mueller’s G+ announcement here and you can get some other opinions on the subject here.

Google Spam Algorithm 3.0:

The Google Spam algorithm, otherwise known as the PayDay Loan algorithm, launched on June 12, 2014 only a couple of weeks after version 2.0, which targeted spammy sites and even added some negative SEO factors as well. The newer version targets queries.

  • Is this different than Panda and Penguin?

The Payday Loan algorithm is completely unrelated to Google’s Panda or Penguin updates. The Panda algorithm usually targets websites with low quality content. For example, some sites spin articles in order to automatically create/recycle content or hire authors to create very shallow content. The Panda algorithm targets sites like these. The Penguin algorithm, on the other hand, targets artificial links and paid links.

  • How will this affect your website’s rankings?

If your website is not involved in or around porn, gambling, drugs, or any other terms that might be seen as spammy, then it is highly likely your rankings will not be affected at all. A good rule of thumb for any recent or upcoming update is that if the content you’re producing is natural and geared toward the consumer, you shouldn’t have to worry.

For more of the grueling details, Barry Schwartz dives right into this update in his article for seroundtable.

Google Reconsideration Requests:

Most of us in the SEO world have probably come across a case study or two when Google has denied a reconsideration request for no apparent reason – or so we think because Google has never exactly detailed the process…. until now.

This update has made it possible for Googlers to have a comment box they can ‘opt’ (opt being the key word here) to use when rejecting a reconsideration request to give hand typed details explaining their reasoning behind the denial. Unfortunately these custom, site-specific comments are not mandatory for Google. You might get an answer, you might not; and the mysteries of Google continue.

You can find multiple articles surrounding this topic but I found a couple great posts from searchengineland.com that are straightforward and to the point.

If you have a hard time keeping up with Google and its evolution, it might benefit you to follow any of the sources I’ve sited here, along with a few others. Keeping up may seem like a full-time job, but it’s critically important if Google plays a major part of your business.