The History of Google Algorithm Updates, Explained
Google is something we all couldn’t live without, and one of its many useful features is its ranking algorithms which changes regularly, almost on a daily basis. If you are new to the world of SEO then this will help you have a better understanding of the most important algorithm changes and penalties from the recent years, and of course, We also added a short overview on each one.
Panda was launched on February 24, 2011 so it’s been here for a while now. When it was first invented, it was used as a filter rather than a part of the ranking algorithm of Google, but in January 2016 it was officially included into the Google’s core algorithm.
What you need to do is implement regular site checks in order to avoid content duplication, thin content, and also keyword stuffing. In order to do this, you’ll need a website crawler such as SEO Powersuite’s Website Auditor.
Panda is used in order to down-rank plagiarized or thin content, keyword stuffing, and those annoying user-generated spam. A good tip for e-commerce website owners is that if your site is not able to utilize genuinely original content then you should at least try to use original images whenever possible, and also make use of user reviews in order to make your product descriptions attract more attention.
Penguin was first launched on April 24, 2012; its main objective is to down-rank sites which has manipulative links. In 2016, Penguin has been officially included into Google’s core algorithm. It works in real time, unlike Panda. Which means it filters spams and irrelevant links, and links with over-optimized anchor text.
You should run regular audits using a backlink checker such as SEO SpyGlass, and also monitor your link profile’s growth so you won’t have any problems with Penguin. You will see a graph of your link profile’s growth progress in the Summary dashboard in the tools section. Make sure to keep a look out for unusual spikes, and if you spot any, it is a good reason to check up the backlinks you’ve unexpectedly gained.
The stats that Penguin calculates are incorporated into the Penalty Risk Formula of SEO SpyGlass. In order for you to check for penalty risks, you just need to go to the Linking Domains dashboard then click on the Link Penalty Risks tab, select your links, and click Update Penalty Risk. When you’re done with the check, you should then check on the Penalty Risk column in order to make sure that every link has a score of more than 50%.
Hummingbird was first launched on August 22, 2013, and its main focus is to help Google provide better search queries and more accurate match to the searchers intent. Keywords are still important, but Hummingbird makes it possible for the searcher to find a page even though it didn’t have the exact keywords that the searcher entered into the search bar. With the help of Hummingbird, keyword stuffing and low-quality content are less of an issue, and it will help you expand your search by focusing on the concept and not the exact keywords used. By carefully researching related searches, synonyms, and other related terms, it helps you find more accurate searches.
Pigeon was first introduced into the United States on July 24, 2014, and was then launched in the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia on December 22, 2014. It deals with poor on- and off-page SEO by affecting the searches which is greatly affected by the searcher’s location. This update made a more accurate search by connecting the local algorithm and the core algorithm. With the help of Pigeon, local search results are now also ranked with the help of traditional SEO factors. You should focus on optimizing on- and off-page SEO and a good way to get started on this is by using an on-page analysis with WebSite Auditor. With the help of its Content Analysis dashboard, it will give you a better understanding about the aspects of on-page optimization. A tip on how to get started on off-page SEO is by getting listed in business directories that are relevant to your business. These business directories will help your website’s rank by functioning like backlinks, and also rank high on Google themselves.
Mobile was first introduced back in April 21, 2015. It makes sure that mobile-friendly pages will be at the top of the rankings of mobile search, while pages that aren’t mobile-friendly will have a lower ranking and sometimes even filtered out from the SERPs. You should optimize your website to be mobile-friendly, focusing on speed and usability for mobile users. Google has a mobile-friendly test that will help you make your page more mobile-friendly, and show you the aspects you need to work on.
RankBrain isn’t exactly an algorithm but a part of Google’s Hummingbird algorithm. It is a system that helps Google have a better grasp on the meaning behind the search queries and in order to provide the best match search results in accordance to the searcher’s query.
By using competitive analysis tools such as WebSite Auditor, you will be able to optimize your content for relevance and comprehensiveness. It can search for the most used and relevant terms and concepts that are used by your biggest competitors, which is a great way for you to diversify your content.
Possum was first launched on September 1, 2016. Its main purpose was to ensure that local search results varied more depending on the searcher’s location. For example, if a searcher is looking for a restaurant, then it will first show the restaurants nearest to the searcher’s location. Possum also helped in giving a greater variety among search results ranking of similar queries.
By keeping track of location-specific keyword rank and expanding your keyword list, it will certainly help your business. With the introduction of Possum, local business now have to target more keywords than they previously had to in order to rank higher in the local SERPs.
Fred was first introduced on March 8, 2017. It focuses on thin, affiliate-heavy or ad-centered content by targeting websites that violates the Google webmaster guidelines. Blogs with low-quality posts that are only created in order to generate ad revenue are the ones greatly affected by the Fred update.
Make sure to review the Google Search Quality Guidelines, and stay away from thin content. If your site has ads, then make sure that they are found on pages that have high-quality and have relevant information, and not just a gateway page with a lot of affiliate links.