We’ll replenish 120% of the water we consume by 2030, and we’re actively supporting water security and ecosystems where we operate. In honor of Vanessa Fox leaving Google, the “Buffy” update was christened. No one was quite sure what happened, and Matt Cutts suggested that Buffy was just an accumulation of smaller changes. Google released their monthly Search Highlights, with 39 updates in May. Major changes included Penguin improvements, better link-scheme detection, changes to title/snippet rewriting, and updates to Google News. Google rolled out another Panda data refresh, but this appeared to be data only and had a much smaller impact than Panda 3.7.
SEOs reported a major update that seemed to strongly favor big brands. Matt Cutts called Vince a “minor change”, but others felt it had profound, long-term implications. This time, real-time search was for real- Twitter feeds, Google News, newly indexed content, and a number of other sources were integrated into a real-time feed on some SERPs.
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MozCast and other tools tracked a massive, multi-day spike that kicked off around May 17th. This preceded a sustained period of high algorithmic flux that may not have settled down for months. Rankings showed a spike in volatility around February 20th, which quickly settled down, sometimes signalling a targeted algorithm update.
Google announced they would be encrypting search queries, for privacy reasons. Unfortunately, this disrupted organic keyword referral data, returning “” for some organic traffic. Google rolled out another post-“flux” Panda update, which appeared to be relatively minor. This came just 3 days after the 1-year anniversary of Panda, an unprecedented lifespan for a named update.
In a bid to be more transparent, Matt Cutts released a post with 10 recent algorithm updates. It’s not clear what the timeline was, and most were small updates, but it did signal a shift in how Google communicates algorithm changes. Overlapping the EMD update, a fairly major Panda update (algo + data) rolled out, officially affecting 2.4% of queries. As the 3.X series was getting odd, industry sources opted to start naming Panda updates in order .
The timing was unclear, but it seemed to roll out just prior to Penguin 2.0 in the US and possibly the same day internationally. After months of speculation bordering on hype, the 4th Penguin update (dubbed “2.0” by Google) arrived with only moderate impact. The exact nature of the changes were unclear, but some evidence suggested that Penguin 2.0 was more finely targeted to the page level. This was not the “everflux” many people had expected after Panda #25.
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