It seems that we can barely go a week without big search engine optimization or social media news. This week, like every other, was a reminder that in the web industry everything can change at the drop of a hat–usually Google’s hat. If Google does anything well, it’s keeping us guessing what it will do next. Here are this week’s biggest SEO and social stories:

Google Panda 20

The latest Google Panda update, dubbed Panda 20, is one of the biggest we’ve seen in months. Unlike previous updates, which were usually just data refreshes, this last update was one for the books. According to Matt Cutts, nearly 2.4 percent of all English search queries will be affected by this update. Panda 20 is so significant that even regular non-SEO-oriented users could potentially start noticing changes in their search results. Google Panda is the search engine’s way to combat low-quality sites from staying high in the search rankings. For more about this update, check out our comprehensive blog post about all the latest Google algorithm changes.

One Billion Facebook Users1 billion friends

Do you remember when Sean Parker asked Mark Zuckerberg, “A million dollars isn’t cool, you know what’s cool? … A billion dollars,” in The Social Network? Well, Zuck and Co. have far surpassed the billion dollar mark, but this past week they announced a milestone that is worth paying attention to. According to Facebook’s president and CEO, the social network has one billion active monthly users. You read that right; one billion. In short, that makes Facebook the most popular club ever in the history of the known universe. Oh yeah, it also means that one-seventh of the humans on Earth are members. That’s a lot of people. Only time will tell where Facebook will go, and like you and me, one billion other people are along for the ride.

Time to get local

Did you use Google today? If you did, there’s a 43 percent chance that you searched for something in your local area. According to the ad network Chitika, 43 percent of all Google search queries (mobile and PC) have “local intent.” This reinforces the premise that as webmasters, social media managers and SEOs we have to put our focus on local search results. Like a lot of the other things we focus on, the idea of localization is repeated again and again and again, but now it’s as important as ever.

If we know anything about the worlds of social media and SEO it’s that the big players are doing their best to keep us on our toes. As long as we stay informed and educated, though, we should all be successful on the web.

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