The past few weeks have been particularly turbulent for SEO’s, affiliate marketers and business owners who invest in online marketing. With Google releasing 3 separate algorithm updates over the course of 8 days, many SEO’s have been left scouring forums and blogs trying to get to the bottom of which update it was that may have hit their site.

The Timeline

  • Google Panda “20″ – 27th September 2012
  • The EMD Update – 28th September 2012
  • Google Penguin 3 – 5th October 2012

Matt Cutts had announced the EMD update on his twitter stream on the 28th of September – however he made it very clear that this update was unrelated to both Panda or Penguin – “New exact-match domain (EMD) algo affects 0.6% of English-US queries to a noticeable degree. Unrelated to Panda/Penguin.”


New exact-match domain (EMD) algo affects 0.6% of English-US queries to a noticeable degree. Unrelated to Panda/Penguin.

What I found particularly interesting about this announcement, was that Matt Cutts made a point of differentiating this update from Panda, but neglected to announce the Panda update that was released a day prior!

The Return Of The Google Dance

Google has been quoted as saying there are anywhere between 500-600 changes to its algorithm in a year, but most are minor tweaks. However, most SEO’s are now familiar with the infamous Panda / Penguin duo (and if they’re not, you need to find a new SEO company quickly). These updates affect anyway from 0.6% to 3%+ of the organic results to a noticeable degree.

One has to wonder how frequently these updates are going to be released into the wild and those that were around before caffeine and during the old Google dance days, should feel a slight sense of déjà vu. Panda was released on almost monthly schedule, the release schedule between Panda 19 and 20 was a meagre 9 days.

Looking Forward

Most SEO companies and freelancers have adapted to the recent algorithm changes, and informed clients that they need to change strategy. An integrated approach combining content marketing, genuine outreach, and a solid social strategy is essential to ensure organic visibility within the SERPS is stable.


One has to question what the next big update will bring. I’m not going to start shouting from the rooftops that SEO is dead, but you need to adapt to these updates much faster or you will get left behind.

We you hit by the latest algorithm changes, and if so we were able to differentiate between the EMD / Panda / Penguin updates? If you were, I’d love to hear from you and see what your plan of action is to combat the ill effects of these updates.