A major algorithm update hit sites hard, affecting up to 12% of search results . Panda seemed to crack down on thin content, content farms, sites with high ad-to-content ratios, and a number of other quality issues. Panda rolled out over at least a couple of months, hitting Europe in April 2011. In addition, its 2012 acquisition of Motorola Mobility put it in the position to sell hardware in the form of mobile phones.
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Speculation ranged from an e-commerce focused update to a mobile usability update. Multiple tracking tools reported historically-large rankings movement, which Google later confirmed as a “core algo update”. Google officially said that this was not a Penguin update, but details remain sketchy. Just more than a year after the original “mobile friendly” update, Google rolled out another ranking signal boost to benefit mobile-friendly sites on mobile search. Since the majority of sites we track are already mobile-friendly, it’s likely the impact of the latest update was small.
It was previously suspected that a similar factor was in play in Panda. The update had no official name, although it was referenced as “Top Heavy” by some SEOs. Google rolled out yet another Panda data update, but the impact seemed to be fairly small.
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Google started rolling out a penalty to punish aggressive interstitials and pop-ups that might damage the mobile user experience. Google also provided a rare warning of this update five months in advance. MozCast showed high temperatures from January 10-11, but many SEOs reported minimal impact on sites that should have been affected.
Initially dubbed “Panda 3.0”, Google appeared to roll out yet another round of changes. These changes weren’t discussed in detail by Google and seemed to be relatively minor. Google announced a radical shift in personalization – aggressively pushing Google+ social data and user profiles into SERPs. Google also added a new, prominent toggle button to shut off personalization. Google announced that they would start penalizing sites with repeat copyright violations, probably via DMCA takedown requests. Algorithm changes beginning on February 1st continued for a full week, peaking around February 6th .