2012 has witnessed several updates from Google in terms of its index and search algorithm, including penalizing sites which used the traditional and common SEO tricks. Many SEO analysts do not understand how website ranking strategies of Google change over a short period of time. The biggest ever Google update was the introduction of Google’s new Penguin updates.

The motto behind the introduction of Google’s Penguin updates was to give a great browsing experience to Google users. To do this, Google had to penalize sites that paid more emphasis on ranking high rather than impressing readers.

Here is a month-wise recap of the major algorithm changes of Google in the year 2012.

Updates in January

On the 5th of January, Google updated its algorithm with thirty new changes of which the image-search-results alteration was the most important. Five days after the update, Google published its Search Plus Your World that transferred user profiles and social data from Google+ to SERP.

Panda 3.2 released in January, which Google itself called a data refresh rather than an update. This was again followed by an update that pushed websites with too many advertisements.

 Updates in February

On the 17th of February was the major update termed as – search quality highlights. The update greatly affected spell checker within search engines and the result speed. It was followed by three more updates on the 24th of Feb. Venice, an update of the service pack that made search results more accurate and personal, another update of service pack improvising on image search functions and lastly Panda 3.3, a small update that effected few search results.

Updates in March

Panda 3.4 was released towards the end of March. As per Google, the update impacted search results to a good extent.

Updates in April

Google search updates pack launched on the 3rd which highlighted alterations in test anchor credits, updating changes in local queries and image searches was interpreted by search engines. On the 16th of April, Google claimed that they have done away with a bug that uncharacteristically marks down domains. This is not necessarily an update but a correction. After three days, Google launched its Panda 3.5 which was considered to be a routine update that did not impact SERPs much.

Updates in May

On the 4th of May, Google highlighted the algorithms that include changes tied to Penguin. Google announced that its base index maximized by 15% while there was an announcement of tiered search results, more importantly results categorized on the basis of relevance to search terms. The introduction of Knowledge Graphs and Penguin 1.1 were the other major updates in May.

 Updates in June

Google updated a pack of 39 changes on the 7th of June, of which updates to Google News and other Penguin updates were the most important ones. Before the end of the month, the data-only update, Panda 3.8 released.

Update in July

July was a relatively quiet month apart from the warnings issued on links on the 19th. On 24th July an update of Panda 3.9 was witnessed, which again just affected less than 1% of the queries made.

 Update in August

Google announced in August that they would be penalizing websites that violated copyright. August 20th saw the release of Panda 3.9.1 which marginally impacted the SERP.

As you see, Google’s algorithm updates have always been active. If you have your business presence online, you got to study them well in order to be safe with your website rankings.