Google caught Expedia for unnatural link building and the penalty it was hit by cost the company 25% of its visibility in search engine results for Google. After this incident Google urged any SEO tactics involving such link building methods to stop operations immediately or suffer the consequences of penalty.
Also this month, Google introduced a tool for crawling mobile web content. This announcement required webmasters to make changes in their robots.txt files as well as the technical structure of the website to accommodate for mobile optimization.


Towards the end of 2013, 100% secure search was possible with Google search engines. As a result, keyword data no longer existed. By February, the ‘keyword unavailable’ issue had become very common.


There was a noticeable fluctuation in search engine results for Google which got webmasters discussing about an update. Although Google did not confirm it, several search engine results pages saw a significant increase in the index volatility of Google.
During this month, Google made a change in how search results were displayed for desktop users. Underlined hyperlinks were removed, title tags had a slightly larger font size, and the display of ads was altered.


A bug, known as the ‘heartbleed bug’ was exposed. This caused major privacy issues amongst all users of the internet.
The person in charge of Google+ (Vic Gundotra) left Google, hence leading to Google+ simply being a platform similar to other social networking platforms.


Sites that displayed low quality content were largely affected by Panda 4.0. This was not just a refresh to the algorithm but was a major update that affected content written in many different languages.


The elimination of authorship photos in search results brought up a confusion of whether or not the entire concept was being removed.
At its main event, Google announced a new and consistent design in Google Chrome, Android and the internet. It also informed the public about an interesting visual element that was added to search.


The hyped up Pigeon Update was released which drastically changed local search results and made search more similar to organic web ranking. An experiment claimed that 64% of all internet traffic was a result of organic search.


Taking the aforementioned privacy issue seriously, Google announced that its algorithms would now begin to use HTTPS in ranking web pages. This was an effort to increase privacy by making everyone move to a more secure website.
The predicted elimination of the authorship program was correct. By doing so, Google aimed to prove a stronger relationship between writers and publishers of content.


SEO ranking factors for 2014 were released by Searchmetrics. The following criteria saw a major increase in affected rankings:
• Strong architecture of the webpage
• Content quality being extremely high
• User signals
There was a decrease in value for:
• Keyword links
• Social signals


According to a comprehensive study for click-through-rates, desktop and mobile clicks were segmented, along with branded and non-branded keywords as well as the search intent.
The Penguin update targeted web spam, unnatural links and over optimization. Many were affected by this and filed a reconsideration request. Google considered these and refreshed the Penguin update so those affected were able to get back into Google’s good books.


Google decided to abandon its ‘Local Carousel’ for a few industries such as restaurants, hotels, entertainment and nightlight. To this, the SEO industry celebrated.
Google began its experiment with mobile friendly sites by introducing a new ranking algorithm catered to mobile search users.


Bing introduced its adaptation of Panda, which was much better at stating guidelines of what is considered as ‘good content’.