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This confirmed that Penguin data was being processed outside of the main search index, much like Panda data. Google announced an update to its original page layout algorithm change back in January, which targeted pages with too many ads above the fold. It’s unclear whether this was an algorithm change or a Panda-style data refresh. Almost all global flux trackers registered historically high activity. Google would not confirm an update, suggesting that they avoid updates near the holidays. MozCast also registered a rise in some Partial-Match Domains , but the patterns were unclear.
Google announced a Core Update that appeared to roll out quickly, with the bulk of the impact hitting on December 3rd. MozCast hit 112°F, on par with the March 2020 Core Update and August 2018 “Medic” Update. Some sites reported reversals a few days later, but this seems to have been limited. The key was to leverage Web users’ own ranking abilities by tracking each Web site’s “backing links”—that is, the number of other pages linked to them. Most search engines simply returned a list of Web sites ranked by how often a search phrase appeared on them. Further, a link from a heavily linked Web site would be a more valuable “vote” than one from a more obscure Web site.
Google officially launched their jobs portal, including a stand-alone 3-pack of job listings in search results. These results drew data from almost all of the major providers, including LinkedIn, Monster, Glassdoor, and CareerBuilder. Algorithm trackers and webmaster chatter spotted increasing flux starting around September 25th, which seemed to spike on the 27th, after a period of relative calm. Algorithm trackers and webmaster chatter detected a high amount of flux, peaking around November 15.
Internet search, advertising, apps, and maps, as well as the mobile operating system Android and the video-sharing site YouTube, remained under Google. Separate Google ventures—such as longevity research company Calico, home-products company Nest, and research lab Google X—became separate firms under Alphabet. Page became CEO of Alphabet, Brin its president, and Schmidt its executive chairman.