September SEO Update

September Monthly Summary

 Google Updates

On September 27, Google released a Panda algorithm update and an Exact Match Domain (EMD) Update.  The EMD update targets domains that exactly match the search terms they hope to be found with and devalues those domains.  For example, domains such a and which previously ranked #3 for their respective exact match phrases (“play scrabble” and “purses”) have now been dropped out of the top 10 search results.  The following graph illustrates the effect of this update.

According to a tweet from Matt Cutts, “New exact-match domain (EMD) algo affects 0.6% of English-US queries to a noticeable degree.”  This update is extremely important because exact match domains used to be a very common SEO tactic and after this update it is clear that this tactic/shortcut to rankings is no longer effective.  As an agency, we are following this update closely and are continuing to use proven effective strategies like great quality content and link building for our clients.

On October 4, Google announced 65 changes to their search algorithm.  As usual, we have highlighted the updates we are most interested in.

  • #82862. [project “Page Quality”] This launch helped you find more high-quality content from trusted sources.
  • #84394. [project “Page Quality”] This launch helped you find more high-quality content from trusted sources.
  • #84010. [project “Page Quality”] We refreshed data for the “Panda” high-quality sites algorithm.

These updates are all concerned with making sure the highest quality pages are listed first in Google’s search results.

  • #83761. [project “Freshness”] This change helped you find the latest content from a given site when two or more documents from the same domain are relevant for a given search query.
  • Imadex. [project “Freshness”] This change updated handling of stale content and applies a more granular function based on document age.

Fresh high quality content is continuing to be extremely important to Google search results.  The more relevant and interesting the content on your site is, the higher the algorithm will rank your pages.  These updates should also begin to move down those old, entrenched pdfs that sometimes rank third or fourth for a keyword, even though they were written years ago.

  • #82279. [project “Other Ranking Components”] We changed to fewer results for some queries to show the most relevant results as quickly as possible.
  • LTS. [project “Other Ranking Components”] We improved our web ranking to determine what pages are relevant for queries containing locations.
  • #84586. [project “Other Ranking Components”] This change improved how we rank documents for queries with location terms.
  • #83406. [project “Query Understanding”] We improved our ability to show relevant Universal Search results by better understanding when a search has strong image intent, local intent, video intent, etc.


Last month’s summary mentioned that Google is now sometimes only displaying only 7 results for certain search queries as opposed to the usual 10.  Google’s latest updates confirm that this will continue and that we can expect to see fewer results but an increased relevancy of those results.


 Just For Fun

The holidays are right around the corner and if you are going to be flying to visit family this year, you might want to check out Google Flight Search.  As of Sept. 28, you can now search for flights from your tablet.  What is unique about using Google to search for flights instead of Expedia, Hotwire, or Priceline is you can search all airports near a city at once.  For example, a search from Dallas, TX to New York, NY shows you a comparison of flights from both DAL and DFW to JFK, LGA, and EWR.