A Basic Guide to Major Google Algorithm Updates

A Basic Guide to Major Google Algorithm Updates
Jan 12, 2017

Over the years Google has come up with many new algorithm updates. The changes made by these updates are usually minor. It is only once in a while that a major Google algorithm update takes place bringing major changes in search results. There have been 9 major updates in the past two years most recent of them were the possum and penguin 4.0. It is really important to stay on top of all important algorithm update, as it helps in addressing flaws and discover adjustments you might need to make to your digital marketing strategy. Here are some of them explained for you:-

 Google Hummingbird

It is the search algorithm Google started using from 30 th august 2013. It was first major change to their algorithm since 2000. It focuses more on the meaning behind the words. Hummingbird will take into account meaning of each word in a query along with the meaning of whole sentence or conversation and in result show pages which are consonant to the meaning rather than just a few words. This content strategy has been designed by Google to answer their users’ needs instead of providing them with just facts. Hummingbird is not a penalty based update like panda and penguin that aims at cleaning the SERPs from low-quality content. With addition of the hummingbird, one needs to focus more on content of their website and make it deep and rich. Make sure your content is easily understandable and can answer longer tail queries as well as shorter tail ones.

 Google Panda

This update was introduced in February 2011 and ranked websites according to the quality of their content. Websites with good high-quality content will get higher ranks and will come on top in search results whereas sites with low-quality content will be ranked lower and get negatively impacted. The change aimed to eliminate spam content which was not useful or relevant and to provide its user with the best quality material. It does not target the user-generated content.

To prevent Google panda from negatively impacting your websites you just need to make sure your content is unique, original and answers to the query of users. Make necessary changes with new updates in your content. Optimization of keywords in old posts with updated information may help. Keep the advertising ratio healthy as too many ads will indirectly raise the trustworthiness and authority of your website.

 Google Penguin

With the Google Penguin update, Google targeted sites which came under the category of “web spam”. It got launched in April 2012 and focused mainly on the quality of the link. The goal was to catch sites that were spamming its search results by buying their links from a low-quality directory. In September 2016 Google announced Penguin 4.0 as officially part of Google's Core Algorithm. Penguin 4.0 is the last Penguin update in history. There will be no other update.

In order to recover your site from effects of Google penguin eliminate any spam your site may be containing. Go through your back links if you find that there are some that should be removed or disavowed contact those site owners and ask them to remove the links pointing to your site. If not removed, add those URLs to a disavow file and submit to Google.

 Google Pigeon

It is a major local search algorithm update that came in 2014. It was dubbed “Pigeon” by site ‘Search Engine Land’. The true benefits of this update are to the searcher. This update has brought more precision and accuracy in the local search results. One of the main change brought by the update was a face lift to the ‘Google Local 7-Pack’. The 7-Pack is the name for the group of seven Google Maps listings you are typically presented with during a local search face lift to the ‘Google Local 7-Pack’. The 7-Pack is the name for the group of seven Google Maps listings one is typically presented during a local search. The pigeon algorithm connects Google web search and Google map search in a more cohesive way.

One could be prepared for this update by making sure that his Google Map listings and Google+ Local listings are as up to date as possible. Having a high-quality back link profile will help in strengthening one’s rank. Make sure all your contact information comprising an address, telephone number, website address, email address etc, are up to date on all websites and directory listings.

 Google Possum

It is the local algorithm update that happened in September 2016. The goal of the update seems to be diversification of local search results and preventing spam from ranking. Earlier to this update, any business which fell outside physical limits of a city had a difficult time getting listed for a query that had the city name. However, these businesses saw an upsurge in their local rankings as a result of possum update by Google. It is now filtering based on address and affiliation. Google’s filters for local search and organic search are evolving and working more independently from each other.

Under Possum location of searcher will be more important than before as farther the distance of searched place, lesser will be its ranking. Making changes in the keyword, abbreviations will alter the search results. The result keeps showing fluctuation which tells that Google is still testing the algorithm as it has does with other algorithm updates in the past.

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