This day in search marketing history: January 12


Google Panda becomes a core ranking signal

In 2016, Google Panda became baked into Google’s core ranking algorithm.

Google Panda was one of Google’s most significant spam-fighting algorithmsl First launched in February 2011, the final confirmed refresh was Panda 4.2, which started rolling out July 18, 2015.

A Google Panda algorithm guide, published on The SEM Post, included several then-new quotes about Panda from Google, attributed to a “Google Spokesperson.” Those included a statement that Panda was now part of Google’s core ranking algorithm:

Panda is an algorithm that’s applied to sites overall and has become one of our core ranking signals. It measures the quality of a site, which you can read more about in our guidelines. Panda allows Google to take quality into account and adjust ranking accordingly.

Read all about it in Google Panda Is Now Part Of Google’s Core Ranking Signals. And dig deeper into Panda in

And, as we learned at SMX Next in 2022 from Hyung-Jin Kim, the VP of Google Search, Google’s Panda algorithm later evolved into the Coati algorithm.


Also on this day 


Why does Google tip us off to search updates with minor ranking impacts but surprise us with the major ones?

2022: It’s the updates Google does not give us huge lead time to prepare for that have impacted rankings the most, like the core, Penguin and Panda updates.


E-commerce sales jumped this holiday season as search marketers weathered Google updates

2022: U.S. consumers spent $204.5 billion on ecommerce purchases during the holiday season, an 8.6% increase in online spending year-over-year.


Google Business Profiles sets waiting period for new owners and managers

2022: Newly granted users had to wait 7 days before they could manage all the features of the profile.


Yoast SEO 17.9 adds keyphrase performance tracking

2022: The free version let you track up to five keywords while the premium account let you track up to 500 to 10,000 keywords.


Google News performance report added to Google Search Console

2021: Google Search Console started showing you how well your news site performed in Google News and the Google News App.


Yelp launches “health and safety measures” community feedback feature

2021: Yelp launched a new rating feature for community to leave feedback on local business social distancing and mask compliance.


Google My Business video uploads now available to business owners

2018: Videos could appear on Google Maps and local search listings.


Search in Pics: Google Brain jacket, puppy dog eyes & deprecated GoogleBot

2018: the latest images culled from the web, showing what people eat at the search engine companies, how they play, who they meet, where they speak, what toys they have and more.


Google has officially killed off their link command

2017: Google said the feature is no longer around, and using a link:www.domain.com will likely return irrelevant results.



Google Had A Major Core Ranking Algorithm Update This Past Weekend

2016: Google confirmed what was described as a “massive update” was a core ranking algorithm update, not an expected Penguin update.


Charles Perrault Google Doodle Marks 17th Century Fairy Tale Author’s 388th Birthday

2016: A series of three Doodles honored the 17th century French author Charles Perrault on his 388th birthday, representing classics like “Cinderella,” “Sleeping Beauty” and “Puss in Boots”.


DMCA Takedown Database ChillingEffects.org Takes Itself Out Of Search Results

2015: The irony was almost too obvious to mention: an entity dedicated to monitoring the potential “chilling effects” of DMCA takedown notices censoring itself. 


Report: Google Translate To Provide Real-Time Translation Via App

2015: Google was planning to soon announce a major update to their Google Translate App that enabled real-time, automated translation.


Seeing Double: Yahoo, Bing Search Ads Show Duplicate Copy In Headlines And Ad Text

2015: Search ads on Bing and Yahoo were showing description line one of the ad copy in both the ad text and ad titles.


Google Doesn’t Know When Super Bowl 2015 Starts (Yet!)

2015: Why wasn’t Google providing the correct answer for the Super Bowl start time when year-after-year, it has been an issue for them?


Zomato Buys Urbanspoon For $50 – $60 Million To Enter US Local Search Market

2015: The Urbanspoon acquisition capped a six month buying spree in which Zomato acquired restaurant verticals in New Zealand, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Italy and Turkey.  


RIP Aaron Swartz, One Of The Earliest Google Bloggers

2013: The Google Weblog went up on March 17, 2002, two years before Google launched its own official blog.


To Understand Google Favoritism, Think “If Google+ Were YouTube”

2012:  Google effectively launched a “who to follow” search engine, a way to show people and companies with social accounts that searchers might be interested in. But it based that solely around Google+.


Google Swallows Hard, Renews Effort In China

2012: Google was “softening its tone” and “renewing its push” into China.


Google Search App For Android Updated

2012: The new update makes it easier and faster for searchers to use.


Foursquare Launches “Personalized Search For The Real World”

2012: Foursquare introduced its “Explore” feature, better keyword search and several new filters to help users drill down in search results.


Big Chains Launch “Hulu For Hotels”

2012: The functionality and design of the Roomkey site was good, but it wasn’t clear whether Roomkey was comprehensive enough to be truly competitive.


Session-Based Clicks Under Fire in WSJ Report

2011: Advertisers were complaining about Google’s practice of delivering ads within a user’s search session, but beside results unrelated to an advertiser’s purchased keywords.  


German Govt. Says Google Analytics Now Verboten

2011: German privacy officials were concerned about Google Analytics tracking web users’ IP addresses, which could violate an individual’s privacy.


Google Places Gets Its Own iPhone App

2011: The app seemed to focus more on the discovery side of local than on search, which distinguished it from the Apple-produced, default Maps app that’s more about directions and navigation than about locating businesses. 


Google Tweaks New AdSense Interface

2011: The default metrics on the Home and Performances reports were changed back to page-level metrics, the ad block/allow selector showed the product name, and more changes.


How Will Google Be Impacted By Verizon’s iPhone?

2011: Google wasn’t as central to the iPhone user experience as on Android but Google had a strong presence on the iPhone. 


UK Regulator To Crack Down On Paid Celeb Tweets

2011: The UK Office of Fair Trading (OFT) was expected to soon require disclosure rules when tweets were commercially sponsored.


Wolfram Alpha Redesigns For 2011

2011: In addition to a shiny, new, colorful home page, there were some interesting tweaks to the results pages, such as the addition of linked data inside the search results.


11 Months Later, Google Removes Google Japan’s PageRank Penalty

2010: Google.jp returned a toolbar PageRank score of 8. Prior to December 31, it was still a PageRank of 5.


VigLink: Fire & Forget Solution To Turn Outbound Links Into Affiliate Earners

2010: VigLink, a service with venture capital backing from Google, promised to turn any outbound link on a web site into an affiliate link after the installation of a small bit of JavaScript code.


Netconcepts Acquired By Covario

2010: Netconcepts was a Wisconsin-based SEO company founded by Stephan Spencer.


Baidu Hacked By Iranian Cyber Army

2010: This is the same group of hackers that took over Twitter’s web site for a short time period several months ago.


Proposed UK Law Would Immunize Search Engines Against Copyright Claims

2010: A proposed amendment to a pending UK law would have permitted search engines to index any or all of the content on a “publicly accessible website” through a “presumed . . . standing and non-exclusive license.”


Google Hires Ex-McCain Spokesperson For Top Communications Job

2010: Jill Hazelbaker replaced Matt Furman as head of corporate communications.


Bing Adds More Health Data To Search

2010: The health related queries were related to sicknesses, medicine, medical facilities, in addition to more generic health and fitness related queries.


Google Book Scanning Faces Chinese Challenges

2010: Apparently most of the 20,000 Chinese books Google scanned were from US libraries.


Google Docs Adds Files Storage, AKA GDrive

2010: New feature allowed you to upload files and share those files with friends, co-workers and colleagues. Google limited the file upload to 250 MB per file, with a maximum total of 1 GB of free storage. 


Google Just Says No To China: Ending Censorship, Due To Gmail Attack

2010: Google was heavily criticized for caving into China, especially in light of its “Don’t Be Evil” motto.


Calculating The Carbon Footprint Of A Google Search

2009: Performing two Google searches from a desktop computer could generate about the same amount of carbon dioxide as boiling a kettle for a cup of tea.


Firefox Drops Google For Yandex In Russia, But Big Loser May Be Rambler

2009: Their Russian users really wanted direct access to the Yandex search.


Report: Yahoo’s Search Ad Share Drops 36%

2009: Yahoo’s search ad share dropped from 30.4% in Septembe to 19.4% by December.


The Search Gap Between Consumers And Small Business Advertisers

2009: 78% of SMB respondents said they dedicated 10% or less of their overall budget to marketing efforts.


Yelp Case Settled, But Bigger Issues Remain For Search & Reviews

2009: A lawsuit over a Yelp.com review was settled, but the larger issue of how business owners, customers, and review sites will co-exist online remained wide open.


Joshua Schachter Lands At Google

2009: The founder of the Delicious.com bookmarking service and a former Yahoo executive, had his first day on the job at Google.


Wacky Idea: A Yahoo-Nokia Combination

2009: Nokia invest in or acquire Yahoo? Just a wacky thought – or was it?


Local And The Paradox of Participation

2008: Nobody wants to be the first one at a party or the only one in a restaurant.


Matt Cutts On Appealing Google Malware Warnings

2007: Cuttts said he had checked out a quite a few ‘we don’t have any malware’ reports, and had yet to see a false positive.


Eye Tracking In MSN Search

2007: Among the interesting findings: Adding information to result snippets significantly improved performance for informational tasks but degraded performance for navigational tasks.


Google: Free Real-Time Quotes Here To Stay

2007: The NYSE issued a proposal to the SEC that, if approved, would keep fees at a level that would allow Google to display real-time, last-sale prices across all Google properties.


Past contributions from Search Engine Land’s Subject Matter Experts (SMEs)

These columns are a snapshot in time and have not been updated since publishing, unless noted. Opinions expressed in these articles are those of the author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.


< January 11 | Search Marketing History | January 13 >


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About the author

Danny Goodwin

Danny Goodwin is Managing Editor of Search Engine Land & SMX. In addition to writing daily about SEO, PPC, and more for Search Engine Land, Goodwin also manages Search Engine Land’s roster of subject-matter experts. He also helps program our conference series, SMX – Search Marketing Expo.

Prior to joining Search Engine Land, Goodwin was Executive Editor at Search Engine Journal, where he led editorial initiatives for the brand. He also was an editor at Search Engine Watch. He has spoken at many major search conferences and virtual events, and has been sourced for his expertise by a wide range of publications and podcasts.

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