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Change in Google algorithms in late August

Organic traffic drives a massive proportion of business for a large number of the comapnies under my wing so I therefore do my very best to try and keep abreast of the latest changes in Google’s algorithm.

Sadly this has been getting more and more difficult, with Google continuously looking to refresh their search results to give searchers the most relevant results possible.

Recommended Reading: The value of NO in SEO

In late July it is widely acknowledged that Google released a large-scale algorithm update that was looking to tackle the build-up of spammy links and over optimised anchor text. This is Google’s 2nd major attempt to do this and followed in the footstep of the algorithm update known as “Penguin 1.0” (released in April 2012). This has meant that July 2013’s latest algorithm change has become appropriately known as “Penguin 2.0”.

Far from living up to its image as a cuddly little sea bird, the Penguin update has seen some webmasters pulling out their hair with their organic ranking plummeting as a result. The good news is that in the most part the Penguin 2.0 changes have born positive improvements, with websites that practise “white-hat” marketing techniques being rewarded with ranking increases while those marketers who utilised more short-term ‘black-hat’ techniques being the ones penalised.

Over 2.3% of UK-English language searches were said to be affected by the Penguin 2.0 release, which in real times meant millions of results will differ as a result.

Marketers who have been placing massive importance on Search Engine Optimisation techniques are still trying to get to grips with the impact (if any) of these large scale changes in the search algorithm, However from what I can see Google have been at it again. From the 20th August 2013 it has been reported that Google have released another sizeable search engine change. This was picked up by SEO Moz’s “Mozcast” which actively looks to monitor changes in Google’s algorithm (a really good tool worth keeping an eye on!).

Report showing turbulence in Google Algo, Source: MozCast

A number of websites that I work on also bear witness to this change, with traffic both improving and decreasing from site to site from 20th August 2013.

In my limited sample of around 8 websites it seems that the smaller, niche websites have come off worse suffering organic traffic drops whereas the more established websites have seen a ranking increase that has brought more visitors to the website as a result.

One of my websites also has shown a massive increase in the number of visitors who have come to the website from Google’s organic shopping pages. This makes me think that this area of Google is just 1 part that has been re-evaluated as of August 2013 (something that needed doing following on from Google shopping reinvention as a paid-only marketing tool).

I am still waiting to see what impact this change will have on traffic going forward, with many of the sites I am responsible for still seemingly looking to settle down, but it certainly seems to be the case that Google are keen to constantly refine their algorithm. It may not be named after a cute black and white animal, but this update has certainly had an impact. Has anyone else out there experienced anything similar on their website?

About the author: Tom Key is a freelance SEO who operates from Kent.