How 2011 changed SEO for Ever…

by Sourav Sharma on December 22, 2011

How 2011 Changed SEO
2011 will always be remembered as one of the best and exciting year for search engine optimization (SEO). We got an early push with not so favorable Panda/Farmer Update at Google. That update alone changed tons of stuff and gave lot to talk about the entire year.

But if you ask me, this this update was very much required. I did get hit on few of my personal sites :) which I was using for testing…but I think it was very much required. And not only this..Google kept on hitting us with lot of version..

Timeline for Google Panda Update (Google was really busy this year in cleaning up the mess which they should have done before)

  • Panda/Farmer – February 23, 2011
  • Panda 2.0 – April 11, 2011
  • Panda 2.1 – May 9, 2011
  • Panda 2.2 – June 21, 2011
  • Panda 2.3 – July 23, 2011
  • Panda Goes Global (2.4) – August 12, 2011
  • Panda 2.5 – September 28, 2011
  • Panda “Flux” – October 5, 2011
  • Panda 3.1 – November 18, 2011

Here is the history of updates(apart from Panda) which really made the whole year interesting for us.

Overstock.com Penalty – January 2011
This was the 1st time we saw Google changing it’s attitude towards big brands..and we saw Overstock.com penalized for shady SEO practices. During the same period, we saw JCPenney got the same taste for doing similar stuff. This move by Google was appreciated by the community and made a strong statement about Google keeping the index clean.

Attribution Update – January 28, 2011
This was the start of something new and big. Google rolled out an update to help better sort out content attribution and stop scrapers. According to Matt Cutts, this update affected about 2% of queries.

The +1 Button – March 30, 2011
This one update must have been welcomed by many..esp how well it can be manipulated for their benefit. This was kind of desperate attempt from Google to try something where they can add some social thing to their search results. But I hope Google is not using this or plan to use as a ranking factor..

Schema.org – June 2, 2011
This update will play a major role in the coming years…but I will always call this of an lazy approach from these SE’s. They want us to help their bots by providing structured data. They also created a number of new “schemas”, in an apparent bid to move toward even richer search results.

Expanded Sitelinks – August 16, 2011
This update was praised by many marketers..esp the way it will help to manage reputation management. After experimenting for a while, Google officially rolled out expanded site-links, most often for brand queries.

Pagination Elements – September 15, 2011
To help fix crawling of pages and avoid duplication problem created by pagination, Google introduced the rel=”next” and rel=”prev” link attributes. Google also announced that they had improved automatic consolidation and canonicalization for “View All” pages.

Query Encryption – October 18, 2011
This was inevitable esp they way everyone was talking about privacy. Google decided to encrypt search queries, for privacy reasons. Unfortunately, this disrupted organic keyword referral data, returning “(not provided)” for some organic traffic. So far the percentage of “(not provided)” in keyword report is growing fast and thus creating tons of issues for us.

Freshness Update – November 3, 2011
Google announced that an algorithm change rewarding freshness would impact up to 35% of queries. This update primarily affected time-sensitive results, but signaled a much stronger focus on recent content.

2012 can be more exciting/challenging than 2011

There will be a new shift in marketing. We will notice a significant change in approach towards how sale is being made..and people will be more informed about your service and what to buy. Some of the important ones I see impacting our work are:

Privacy and No Data Headaches
We will have more updated geared towards privacy and thus more headaches as we will have less data to understand and work upon. We might end up with only SSL..

Intense Social War
Twitter and Facebook has already rolled out a new design update with a intention to create more engagement and make the user spent more time on their platform. I see Google getting more aggressive with Plus integration to it’s services. May be Facebook jumping into the Search space. That would be exciting.

Mobile and Tablets
We already know how more and more people are using these gadgets to surf web. This is the perfect time to start thinking about these users. As future will be mobile.

In my next post, I will cover some of the best post on SEO which was made in 2011. Stay tuned..and happy holidays.

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My Blackberry is not Working…

by Sourav Sharma on October 13, 2011

Perfect timing.. :)

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