Big Daddy changed the way Google handled URL canonicalization, redirects (301/302) and other technical issues. There were stirrings about an update in December, along with some reports of major ranking changes in November, but Google reported no major changes. Google released a preview of a massive infrastructure change, designed to speed crawling, expand the index, and integrate indexation and ranking in nearly real-time.
While unconfirmed by Google, MozCast recorded extreme temperatures of 108° and a drop in local pack prevalence, and the local SEO community noted a major shake-up in pack results. MozCast detected a major (106°) spike on November 10th and another on the 18th. Industry chatter was high during both periods, with some suggesting that the second spike was a reversal of the first update. Many people reported bad dates in SERPs during the same time period, but it’s unclear whether this was causal or just a coincidence.
Penguin update numbering was rebooted, similar to Panda – this was the 3rd Penguin release. Google shook the local SEO world with an update that dramatically altered some local results and modified how they handle and interpret location cues. Google claimed that Pigeon created closer ties between the local algorithm and core algorithm. Google announced a significant Panda update, which included an algorithmic component.
Google, Yahoo and Microsoft jointly announced support for a consolidated approach to structured data. They also created a number of new “schemas”, in an apparent bid to move toward even richer search results. Specific details of what changed were unclear, but some sites reported large-scale losses. Google announced 30 changes over the previous month, including image search landing-page quality detection, more relevant site-links, more rich snippets, and related-query improvements. The line between an “algo update” and a “feature” got a bit more blurred.
Although “Places” pages were rolled out in September of 2009, they were originally only a part of Google Maps. Google rolled out the Panda update to all English queries worldwide (not limited to English-speaking countries). New signals were also integrated, including data about sites users blocked via the SERPs directly or the Chrome browser.