Penguin, Panda, Mobilegeddon – So Many Changes!


By Sue Brady


Google makes algorithm changes on a fairly regular basis (I’ve read that they make 500-600 changes per year!) and they can have noticeable impacts to your search rankings. It can be hard to keep up and understand what these changes may mean for your website and SEO strategies. This MOZ article is a great historical perspective on all of these changes, and I’ve pulled out just a few to summarize their impacts. Note that some changes happen once as a general cleanup, while others represent an actual ongoing change to the algorithm.

May, 2015 – Quality Update

This update was not widely discussed by Google and the general opinion is that rather than adding anything to its existing algorithm, Google instead rebalanced some of the existing components. In other words, some factors became more important, moving previously higher ranked factors lower. This update appears to have been a one-time thing, so if you were going to see an impact from the update, you would have by now. If you did see changes to your rankings, particularly negative ones, it’s likely to do with how Google perceives the trustworthiness and authoritativeness of your content. Here are Google’s very own tips for how to make your site higher quality.

April 22, 2015 – Mobilegeddon

This widely hyped update turned out to have a relatively low actual impact. Mobilegeddon was made to encourage websites to be mobile friendly. It impacted organic results shown on mobile devices, giving preference to mobile friendly sites over non-mobile friendly sites in those SERPs (search engine results pages).

September 23, 2014 – Panda 4.1 Update

Those in the know (not me), have seen many Panda updates since 4.0 was launched in May, but this is the first update officially acknowledged, so it gets a .1 designation. This update was aimed at de-prioritzing ‘bad’ affiliates, keyword stuffing, doorway pages (pages that don’t really have content, but stuff keywords so that they rank highly), and other deceptive practices.

October, 2014 – Penguin 6 (aka Penguin 3.0, so dubbed by Search Engine Land)

The Penguin updates have all been about linking. This one, though it appeared ‘big’ was said to have impacted less than 1% of total English queries. If your link profiles are good ones, you should have seen an improvement in your rankings as a result of this update. But, just because you weren’t penalized by Google directly, you still may have seen a negative impact from this update. That’s because your site may be getting credit for other sites that link to yours that are now being discounted by Google. Frustratingly, you can’t actually tell if you’ve cured a Penguin problem until the next Penguin update.

I am not an SEO expert by any stretch of the imagination. But there are many out there if you need help. Here are a few I’ve come across over the years:

  • Barry Schwartz (@rustybrick) is the news editor of Search Engine News and is hugely knowledgeable on this subject.
  • Glenn Gabe (@glenngabe) is an expert in digital marketing, especially as related to SEO.
  • Travis Wright (@teedubya) speaks regularly on the subject of search marketing, and he used to be a stand-up comedian, so he’s funny!
  • Larry Kim (@larrykim) founded wordstream and is a search expert.
  • Tom Pick @tompick) specializes in B2B web marketing.

“Knowledge is a weapon. I intend to be formidably armed.”

Terry Goodkind




Why it Matters What People Think (About You)


By Sue Brady

ListeningSo many reasons why it matters what people think about you (and your company):

Your employees represent your company
You recruit new employees
Your customers leave reviews
You might need to find a new job


First let’s think about your employees. Employees are on social media, they talk to their friends and colleagues, they network and have networks. They can be influencers and even more importantly, they can be brand advocates. An employee who likes your company will say nice things about it, they’ll recommend their friends to work there or to buy your company’s product. They’ll work hard to make you succeed because making you succeed makes them succeed. Do your best to make them feel appreciated and valued. This goes beyond paying a fare wage. Work environment, recognition, nice working space all matter. It matters what your employees think.


If people are saying nice things about your company, others will want to work there. Your reputation is valuable and important. When you show up on a college campus to recruit, you want the students to have heard of you as a good place to work. Where do they hear that? From friends, online reviews (if you aren’t checking you should be!), their parents, articles. You want potential employees to seek you out. The reputation of your company matters.


If you sell a product or service, do a Google search for that product with the word ‘reviews’ after it, and see what you get. Are you reviewed positively on, yelp, glassdoor, Amazon, Angie’s List or other sites that matter for your business? BrightLocal does an annual study of consumer usage and attitudes, specifically focusing on online reviews. Last year they found that 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as they trust personal recommendations! And 85% of customers indicated that they read up to 10 reviews before they purchase. Reviews matter.


When was the last time you found a job by sending in a resume cold? The truth is, your network, and what they say about you, matters. A couple of years ago, ABC News did a story that reported that 80% of jobs are filled through networking. I thought about the last few positions I’ve held. In the last 5 places I’ve worked, either someone who knew me professionally called to see if I’d be interested in a position, or someone I knew got my resume to the right person. Networks matter. And most people want to help. Very few will not help you when asked.

The key message here is think about your reputation in the marketplace, both professionally, personally, and as a company. And make sure it’s where you need it to be. You can find me on LinkedIn…

Related links:

The Customer is Always Right

A Peak Inside the Coffee Cup

How I’m Obsessed with Making my Company Customer Obsessed