Whenever the user makes a search query, Google wants to ensure that he/she gets the best possible search result. When Google finds that a website provides the best user experience and gives relevant content, that website will be rewarded by way of algorithms. Some people are under the impression that Google is using Google Algorithm Updates to punish websites.
All business websites and the contents of the websites are to be optimized for search engines.
Google Algorithm Updates may either be advantageous or disadvantageous for ranking, website traffic, conversions, business improvement, and profit. The algorithms are updated thousands of times in a year.
Some of the Google Algorithm Updates are very small, and many of them even go unnoticed. Among the updates in a year, only a few are considered significant.
Occasionally, Google rolls out significant updates which will directly impact on SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages).
Google algorithms enable retrieval of data and provide the best possible results instantly for the queries.
A combination of algorithms and ranking signals are used by the search engine to rank web pages based on the SERPs.
Here are 9 major Google Algorithm Updates till date:
Fred was launched on March 8, 2017, and the objective was to detect content which is thin, ad-centered or heavy with affiliates. Fred is the latest update from Google.
Fred targets the websites that violate the webmaster guidelines provided by Google. Blogs with poor quality content are affected more by Fred since such blogs are created only for generating ad revenue.
To adjust for Fred, one should check the website for thin content and also ensure strict adherence to Google Search Quality Guidelines. The pages that show ads should have quality content and should provide relevant information in sufficient quantity.
Those who try to trick Google will be caught and penalized.
Possum was launched on September 1, 2016, and the objective was to detect tense competition in the target location. This Google update ensures variations in local results depending on the location of the searcher.
When a particular business is nearer to the searcher, the same will be appearing among the local results. Possum will also ensure more variety among results that rank for queries that are too similar.
The businesses that are located beyond the city limits get a boost because of Possum. To adjust for Possum, the keyword list must be expanded, and the rank tracking should be location-specific. Local businesses should target more keywords than they used to focus on the past.
Checking one’s rankings must be done from the target location, and the preferred location must be specified.
Rankbrain was launched on October 26, 2015, and the objective was to detect poor quality UX, shallow content and lack of query-specific relevance features.
Rankbrain is an AI system and is a part of the Hummingbird algorithm. With the help of this update, Google understands the meaning of queries and will ensure to provide the best-matching search results to questions.
Rankbrain is at the third place in the row of the most important ranking factors. It is essential to optimize the web content by making it relevant as well as comprehensive.
The way of competitive analysis can do this. Relevant terms and the concepts used by the leading competitors can be found out with the help of proper tools.
Mobile was launched on April 21, 2015, and the objective was to detect poor mobile usability as well as the absence of the mobile version of the page.
This Google algorithm will ensure that the pages that are mobile-friendly get ranked at the top of mobile search and pages that are not mobile-friendly are either down-ranked or filtered out.
The website must be made mobile-friendly and should be on speed as well as usability. The improvements that are required in the mobile version of the page can be found out by running the Google’s mobile-friendly test.
The pigeon was launched on July 24, 2014, and its objective was to detect poor quality on- and off-page SEO. When the location of the user dominates the searches, such searches are impacted by Pigeon.
This update could establish close ties among local algorithm, and core algorithm and local results are ranked based on the traditional SEO factors. Putting more effort into on- and off- page SEO is the best way to adjust for Pigeon.
Getting listed in suitable business directories will be ideal, to begin with off- page SEO. It is quite easy to find out directories of good quality and then approach the webmasters to get listed.
With the help of Hummingbird, Google will interpret the search queries in a better way and the results delivered will match the requirement of the searcher.
Hummingbird enables ranking of a page for a search query even if the exact words entered by the searcher are not there.
This is possible through natural language processing. Synonyms, co-occurring terms and semantic indexing are essential for natural language processing.
To adjust for Hummingbird, one has to broaden his keyword research, and instead of keywords, the focus should be on concepts. Google Related Searches and Google Autocomplete will provide more ideas.
One should diversify the content of his website after clearly understanding the language of the audience. It is essential to create comprehensive content that can cater to the searcher’s needs.
The objective of Pirate update was to block the websites from getting ranked high on the search engine in case they have received a lot of copyright infringement reports.
The websites that are affected by this algorithm are prominent and well-known sites which had made pirated content like movies, music, and books which were offered free to visitors.
To stay safe, one should avoid distributing the content of someone else without obtaining permission from the copyright owner.
Penguin was launched on April 24, 2012, and links that are irrelevant and links with over-optimized anchor text are punishable. This algorithm update was rolled out to identify and punish the websites with manipulative links. In the year 2016, Penguin was made a part of Google’s core algorithm.
Penguin works in real time, unlike Panda. It is essential to closely monitor the growth of the link profile to adjust with Penguin.
A backlink checker may be used to run regular checks. Once the checking is over, the user may go through the column under ‘Penalty Risk’ and examine the links with the score above 50%.
Panda was launched on February 24, 2011, and this Google Algorithm Updates is used to penalize websites for content which is thin, duplicate and is stolen, spam that are user-generated and stuffed keywords.
Panda will give a quality score to the website, and the website will be ranked based on that score also. Panda became a part of the core algorithm in January 2016, and as a result of the frequent rollouts, penalties and recoveries occur very quickly.
To avoid the penalties, websites should be checked on a regular basis for duplicate content, thin content and keyword stuffing.
A site crawler can be used for regular content auditing. In case, 100% unique content is not affordable; one may use original images wherever possible and can provide unique product descriptions with the help of user reviews.
These are some of the recent Google Algorithm Updates announced by Google, and all the above algorithm updates are well known. All these updates had their impact on SEO as well as the ranking of websites. All the above updates are considered as “quality updates.”