2011 Google algorithm changes

I’d like to take a moment to recap some of the most talked about hype in the search engine algorithms. Now, when I say “search engines,” I of course mean Google. Is it just me, or does it seem like they’ve been busier than usual this year? OK, so let’s take a look back:

The Panda Update was first rolled out in February 2011. It has since seen several tweaks and “improvements.” It’s overall goal was to improve the quality of content across the Internet – no small feat. SEO copywriters like me did a Snoopy dance when Panda was unveiled. Was your site affected by the Panda Updates this year?

Secure Socket Layer (SSL) Search showed up in October 2011 to help ease today’s digital footprint paranoia. While I totally understand the desire for confidentiality, I also walk the fine line between protecting my privacy and thinking the CIA is watching me through my keystrokes. Just because I leave a footprint in the snow doesn’t mean someone is following me. But that’s just me. So, sign in to Google when you’re searching, and relax. Well done, Google, you have successfully appeased the masses.

Siri. Well, we’re only about 10 years off the mark. Remember HAL from 2001 A Space Odyssey? Siri sure does, and he/she’s not amused.  Try asking your Siri to “open the pod bay doors” and see what happens. But Siri-ously (ha, real knee slapper, that one! Most over-used joke of 2012 I predict, btw), my real question is this: is it possible someone has actually mastered the art of voice recognition? And can I choose the voice that responds to me? Personally, I’d like a smooth, sexy man answering my questions – Sean Connery, perhaps, maybe Josh Hartnett. Oh, better yet, Hugh Laurie, complete with the caustic Dr. House persona.

Wait … what was I talking about? Oh right, voice recognition. Sadly, I don’t have my new iPhone 4S yet, so I can’t test it out. Please, anyone who has tried it, share with us! Tell us what you think.

What were you most affected by in 2011? Was it the Google Freshness update? The impact of social media on search results? Maybe something entirely different?