This February, Google made 40 changes to their search technology and in doing so, gave SEOs much to anticipate going forward.  Not only has the latest update to Panda made an impact on how content is filtered, but the other 39 updates to Google's algorithm are also expected to change the search engine optimization landscape.  These updates are actually intended to improve search results and create a better user experience, but as with any updates to Google Search, they can still affect SEO strategies.

While many of the updates listed in Google's Inside Search blog post are minor, they are all worthy of consideration when designing and maintaining campaigns.  In the post, Google has stated that factors such as link evaluation, local search results on both Google and YouTube and expanded sitelinks have all been at least slightly altered, but it's possible that some of the changes may have been major overhauls.

Many SEOs know that Google often makes updates to their algorithm, but the search engine has never announced 40 in a single month.  If this is a glimpse into the future, developers will have to keep focused on innovation moving forward.  Refusal or inability to adapt to such a wide array of changes could lead to trouble for developers; conversely, monitoring such changes and creating fresh strategies could lead to much success for Internet marketing companies.

Google does give a brief description of not only the changes made, but also details somewhat specifically what those changes will affect.  Any optimizers using outdated strategies will most likely experience diminished organic rankings and therefore should strive to stay "ahead of the curve" when constructing and maintaining their pages.  The changes certainly look to be positive and as always, encourage developing strong content, high-quality backlinks and relevant keywords.  February was clearly a big month for Google.  Now that they have detailed the changes they've made throughout the month; it would appear that March will be just as a big of a month for SEO developers. 

March 5, 2012

Todd Bailey is Director of Search, Media and PR with Gen3 Marketing and US Brand Ambassador for Majestic SEO. Also, Founder/Editor of


It does seem unusual that they announced so many changes in February, and as someone who works in SEO it makes me a little weary about what they are going to throw our way next. It is kind of amusing how much your thought process changes once you are working in SEO because while Google is aiming to make things easier for users they inadvertently make it harder for SEO strategists and we get frustrated with that. In the end we will just have to learn to keep pushing on despite their curve balls.

Good topic. Google is moving the target again, great. The one piece of their announcement that was weird was the lack of details. I wonder why they feel they cannot reveal to people exactly how things are calculated? I wonder if its because they don't know at this point themselves?

As SEO strategists I believe it goes without saying that we need to stay a step ahead of Google. While it is out of the ordinary to enact so many changes in such a short amount of time, it would seem that Google has to start doing that for a couple reasons. One is obviously to make the search engine better for users. Also, as we are all aware, Google doesn't want to make things easy for SEO teams; if they did they could just explain their algorithm to us! Nothing we can't make adjustments for though.

This gives March madness new meaning. I really sympathize with brands. If you're not in the industry, how do you find the time to study all of the elements of online optimization, which command attention for effective marketing?

It's becoming a multiple-Xs-per-day-event to keep pace if you're in the industry as a professional; how are brands expected to address internal needs and become proficient in online marketing as well? I think brands will become more dependent on marketers, yet the latter's ability to aid a range of those from the former group will be contingent on its own progression in keeping pace.

You need to spread you risk. Im using alot of social media to generate other ways of getting traffic. Google is changing daily and the only way to stay ahead of Google is by predicting there future plans. But it really is a hard job. its true what Ortiz says. If someone discovers the magic formula, Google would lose its value.

I still wonder what will happen with Google Plus as well. The hype is gone and i cant see how they will compete with facebook. Being active on Google Plus is that being one step ahead of Google or is G+ just a waste of time. What do you think?

2011 saw a lot of new hoops for webmasters to jump through in order to keep up with all the Google changes, and now 2012 is starting off with a bang. One huge silver lining to all the tweaks and upgrades is that it is Google doing it, and not say, Microsoft, Ebay, or Amazon all of whose tweaks and upgrades seem to cause more problems than they solve. Google really does just keep getting better and better at connecting the world with meaningful data in meaningful ways.

Well, for one, Google updates changes the their rules every now and then. Factors that might me pushing your site on top for the last few months may not be the same ones as of today. Worst, some of these may even pull down the ranking and traffics of your site. Let say, the quality of content is now a priority in search engines. So we all better update our web contents now.

SEO's need to know the latest updates on Google search so that they can set a plan on how to maintain their current standing on search. There are times that Google doesn't even announce an update and SEO blogs like this will give us an update that Google changes to makes SEO aware and make necessary adjustments.

Thank you Todd for updating me on Google's changes. I find it interesting that at the same time Facebook changes to time line the end of March. It will change Facebook's marketing strategies.

I, like you, believe the web is getting intuitive so organic web marketing strategies will work best and bring real results to the search query.

Mike H.

No room for complacency in the SEO game for sure. Change is about the only thing that is guaranteed when it comes to SERPs. Fortunately the golden rules of good content/quality links remains constant. This evolution present opportunities to expand our bag of tricks, to optimize for factors impacting local search and social authority that have clearly gained importance.

There's no doubt that Google is and will remain the king of search for quite some time. If you want to be involved in SEO, you need to pay attention to Google. It's great that they are more transparent about the updates, however the information that they provide us with really could be more detailed.

After the latest algorithm launched by the Google made 40 changes to their search technology and in doing so, gave SEOs much to anticipate going forward. ... Is sharability the new SEO??

As an SEO, we have to keep moving with the times and it does get difficult when they change the algortihms. But at the end of the day we can see pretty clearly what direction they're heading in, so we should already be working towards the end result. Search is going to continue getting more local, more social and I believe less exact-keyword-focused as time goes on. This is all about making it a better place for users and thats what's important.

Argh!!! 40 changes! It seems that everyone is updating and making changes at the moment, which is great (mostly) but gives webmasters a lot to keep on top of. As a web agency that manages SEO too, we also end up updating lots of other sites to suit new algorithms. Hey ho! Thanks for the info...

The good thing about Google's changes, whether it be through Panda or any of the other 39 changes you cited, is the fact that they always seem to make changes that are better for the customer, in the long run. Sure, Google's revenue is at the top of the list for their motivators, but the public-facing result of their efforts seems to be continued progress.

SEO done with common sense, honesty and a good deal of knowledge & skill, should (and has) remain pretty constant. Meaning, if we are not out their black hatting then there should be little to worry about, right?

I remembered that from a year ago, Google has changed so much and so frequently that sometimes I do not really understand what are going on. But who know? Maybe the algorithms are now so complex and very few people at the top of Google know exactly what is the core. With the Google + comes into playground, I really think everything will change faster and unpredictable. Bad for SEO :D

This is Julia Robert. Thanks for sharing this info .The duties include working with new and existing clients to understand their business and provide consultative search engine optimization (SEO) solutions including: website audits, strategy, link building, keyword and competitive research, analytics/reporting, and on-site optimization.

In seo you are required to get high page rank and high domain authority backlinksa. SEO improves website traffic and helps to get high rankings in Google search engine.

40 changes sounds alot, but improving link quality, localisation and site userbility have all been on the radar for quite sometime. I know Google have increased their communication through webmaster tools in the past month, but I think with constant algo updates they need to further increase their communication and transparency to webmasters.

Its really good news for users and also. Coz its Google's strategy that they have updated their algorithm every years but 40 updates in one month is not expected. As per my if you have relevant back links and quality content then you don't worry about this. And if you provide quality services. And in the field of SEO you always updates yourself with Google latest updates, and technologies. Also you must define your SEO strategy as per Google updates . and thanks Todd Bailey for providing nice information about Google Updates.

In mid-March,2012 I experienced lots of changes in ranking ... I guess it's due to the update on April ....

Since Google makes about 500 changes a year, which is widely publicized, I don't see anything special in 40 changes a month. The only change I see is the openness about specific changes.

I read the forums quite often and had to crack up at the idiots that had their sites go from first page down to 20th after the update. all of them were wining about articles and whole networks being deindexed. well... when you put all your eggs in one basket and that basket happens to be pretty rotten to begin with...

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