While Google makes close to 600 search algorithm changes annually, a few major updates each year seem to have an enormous impact on the state of search. SEOmoz.com listed the most significant updates of 2011 to clarify the workings of the Web today.
On August 12, 2011, Google took Panda global for English-language queries and non-English queries except for Chinese, Japanese, and Korean. This move affected between six percent and nine percent of queries in impacted nations.
On June 28, 2011, Google+ was launched as a serious social competitor to Facebook. This was well received, with 10 million users joining within the first two weeks.
On June 2, 2011, Schema.org debuted as a venture among Google, Microsoft and Yahoo to make search listings richer through structured data.
On March 30, 2011, Google introduced the +1 button to let users influence search results across both organic and paid results within their social circles.
On February 23, 2011, a major Panda update focused on quality issues hit sites extremely hard and affected up to 12 percent of search results.
In January 2011, an uproar over questionable SEO practices by Overstock.com led to a very public Google penalty, which symbolized a shift in Google’s attitude toward content.
2011 has been marked by both highs and lows for Google’s search algorithm, yet understanding the effects of these changes can help us prepare for whatever 2012 has in store.
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