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A Quick Overview of the Animals

The following are 3 different updates given animal names, each are relevant to the updates of 2014; a brief description of each has been given.


A search filter first introduced in April 2012 that serves to better catch sites that were spamming search results through buying links or obtaining them via link networking sites to boost their search rankings.


Introduced in February 2011, the ‘Panda’ algorithm filter stops sites with poor quality content (and resultantly, as Google sees it, poor quality information) from finding their way into the top search results. Generally it is content that has far too many keywords or duplicated content that is penalised.

Pigeon on Google Maps of MelbournePigeon:

First released in June 2014, Pigeon is a major local search update aimed at providing more useful, relevant, and accurate search results.

Payday Loan:

This is a search filter that (whilst not an animal) is very relevant and one to keep in mind. The Payday Loan Algorithm targets “very spammy queries” such as payday loans, and other highly spammed queries.

Major 2014 Updates

Each of the below updates occurred at various points during 2014, all are relevant and crucial to understand if you want to get ahead in the search engine marketing world because it is variations of the below that will continue to occur throughout 2015 and beyond.


February 2014:

  • Top Heavy 3: sites that have too many ads “above the fold” were penalised earlier this year. Above the fold refers to what appears on the screen before scrolling down and serves to benefit the overall users experience.

panda on Google search page

May 2014:

  • PayDay Loan 2.0: This update supposedly affected international sites and different languages to varying degrees.
  • Panda 4.0: This rollout started in the US and has (as of December, 2014) made its way across the UK, Canada, and Australia. The update has been used to help small businesses and websites that create only the best quality content be more visible in Google’s search results. This update supposedly helps out smaller businesses with less financial stability by rewarding them if they truly exist to help out Google’s customers and provide them what they are searching for.

June 2014:

  • PayDay Loan 3.0: 3.0 came about less than a month after the last update. This update was targeting spammy queries rather than specific sites (that of 2.0).
  • Pigeon 1.0: This was the biggest change of the year for local businesses. The Pigeon algorithm was created to help users find more “useful, relevant, and accurate local search results”.
  • End of Authorship Photos: After search engine marketers had spent months optimising their Google+ pages with the use of photos, Google decided to remove authorship photos. The resultant views were of indignation and frustration. Apparently this update was an effort to remove the clutter from search results.

September 2014:

  • Panda 4.1: The filter was made more precise with this update. Low quality content was affected in an effort to promote what may be small or medium sized sites so long as they were producing high quality content.

October 2014:

  • Penguin 3.0: Although this update affected less than 1% of search queries, it is still notable thanks to the way it helped boost search rankings for sites affected by the previous Penguin update but have since then removed their web spam. Similarly, the update caught and affected sites with new spam.
  • Pirate 2.0: First introduced in August 2012, the Pirate update filter is designed to prevent sites from ranking well in Google if they have lots of copyright infringement reports. This update showed Google’s efforts to continue to fight digital media piracy and targeted a small group of suspect websites who were consequently dropped in the SERP’s.

December 2014:

  • Penguin Double Take: ‘Double-Take’ is the result/effect of the updated Penguin algorithm (3.0) and not an actual update.
Article Name
2014's Major Google Algorithm Updates
An overview of the major algorithm updates that occurred during 2014 and had an effect on the SERP's for Google.
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About The Author
Brett Hardiman is MD at SEO Melbourne Experts and a Search Engine Optimisation expert with over 15 years experience working with and advising businesses of all sizes on their internet marketing strategy.

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