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Search engine optimization is all about keeping up with the different changes that Google makes throughout the year. Because the whole goal of an SEO is to work with the customer to make their site look highly relevant to the various search engines, it is basically our bread and butter to make sure we understand each update as it comes out.

Google, of course, is rather agile, churning out updates at a break-neck pace. It is said that Google updates their algorithm at least once per day. If last month is any indication, they are currently averaging about 1.73 updates each and every day. That includes weekends, by the way, so that number is much higher (2.48) if the concept of a weekend is honored by the company.

If that doesn’t seem like a ridiculously large number, I can tell you from experience: That’s a tall order for a programming team.

Our job as an SEO company is to page through all of these updates and make sure we understand, as best as we can, what it means for how we approach SEO from a technical standpoint. A good, ethical SEO won’t necessarily change on a general level, since the ideals Google puts forth rarely change, but rather we’re talking about the “nitty-gritty” details of how to demonstrate your site upholds those ideals.

One thing you may notice if you go to Google’s log of the update is that they will claim 52 updates. Here is where I got 54:

  • 50 bullets on the page
  • 2 known refreshes of Panda (3.5 and 3.6)
  • Incorporation of Google’s webspam initiative, known as the Penguin Update.
  • Product “Rich Snippets” incorporated globally.

Google puts the 2 refreshes of Panda and the Penguin update under a single “update” header: “Another step to reward high-quality sites,” effectively describing 3 actions as a single update. So why do I parse that out? It has everything to do with the fact that Google also calls other, smaller actions stand-alone updates. I feel as though 54 “actions” is more transparent and precise than 52 “updates.” However, it’s all semantics and not really worth an extended debate. This is my (highly discrete) convention, and I will be perfectly satisfied with it even if no one else adopts it.

So, what are all of these actions? The best way to learn more about the actions is to check out their full published description at Google’s official blog.

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