Google is seem to be pushing search engine algorithm update on a monthly basis now. These updates, many a times put online brands susceptible to being hit, although not in the gray area, but the effect is inevitable. Over the past several months, online marketers have been into hot waters for continuously trying to maintain their organic rankings on the search engines, while the search engine seem to not get over with unleashing its updates, for a while at least.

The latest updates that were rolled out this year by Google were on May 17, June 25, July 10 and the recent one was on August 19. Most of these updates were primarily focused on making the Google search results more relevant to the users, which also indicates that any website that used to cheat (by using black hat techniques) to attain prominent organic rankings will be brought back , to where it belonged originally i.e. somewhere much farther down the organic rankings list.

A meeting with Google animals

Google is the apparent mother of all search engines and like any other responsible business leader in an industry, it too has certain policies in place that pertain to the quality of the websites that rank on the search pages. These policies are more commonly known as the algorithm updates, and in this particular case, Google has associated all the updates with adorable animals. Panda, Penguin and Hummingbird to name a few. Let us look into each one of them in detail and see how we can protect our websites from being affected with their roll-out.

Google Panda

google panda

Google panda was the first algorithm update that Google rolled out on Feb 23, 2011. Unlike the thoughts of many, it was named after one of its creators, Biswanath Panda and not after the Panda itself. The effects of this algorithm update are still strongly felt by online marketers.

Related: Google Cooking Up A Mysterious Algorithm Update

The purpose of this update was to rank better quality websites on the search engines. Now by good quality, the main emphasis was on content. After the algorithm came out, Google also reversed the rankings of many such sites that were not featuring unique or relevant content on their web pages. Apparently, no one knew what the exact deciding factors upon which this algorithm ranks websites, however, this checklist can give you an insight on how to tweak your website in the best way possible.

But according to veteran search engine marketers and digital agencies, informative content that is not coinciding with copyright acts or whatsoever is loved by Panda. This would eventually be rewarded in the form of improved rankings for you.

Google Penguin

google penguin

Penguin was first released in April, 2012. This update targeted black-hat techniques, especially low quality, self-made links.

Here, unnatural links that are created to gain an advantage on the search engine is in question, for example. Spam links that are generated by low-quality websites or links that are mentioned in comments to gain momentum are the ones that were within point-blank range of the algorithm. Google created Penguin to prevent people from creating low-quality back links and by penalizing websites that were found engaged in the bad practice. A sudden dip in the organic rankings or total black listing were among the most prominent penalties that surfaced after the launch.

To protect your website from this algorithm, search marketers directed them towards more authentic and quality back-links creation process. Black-hat techniques were demoralized and what came to picture was a more researched and well-thought link building process, on trusted, high-quality websites that provided the much-needed advantage to the web owners and marketers.

Google Hummingbird

Hummingbird was first launched in August 2013 and with this algorithm, Google attempted to get a better understand what the users are searching. By launching this algorithm Google intended to enhance the quality and relevance of the search results with the use of artificial intelligence. After this algorithm rolled out, Google was able to understand a user’s search query and provide relevant and improved information better than before.

Related: Fuchsia OS: A New Star is Born In Google’s Stellar

With this algorithm in place, it is now important for web marketers to not only focus on the keywords, but all the words that are put in a search query. With Hummingbird, Google attempted to even know about the variables that are related to the search query, like past history, the search patterns and any other information that is relevant, even the device type, time and location of the user.

Hummingbird is the algorithm that started warming things up in the search engine optimization industry. The results will now be based on everything that is related to a website, not just one page or the content but the related media, like, social channels, links, the structure of links, impressions and so on. It’s more of a complete digital solution like thing for an online marketer to offer for improved organic rankings.

Google Pigeon

Google Pigeon

Pigeon came out in July 2014 and works in combination with Google Maps. For example, if you have typed a searched query for a clothing store, Google will first determine your location with the help of your GPS, and will then show clothing stores that are nearer to your place.

With Pigeon on work, it got crucial to see if your website listings are appropriate or not. Local listings are the ones that are going to determine the domain authority of a webpage, along with local business listings, reviews, social presence and your pointer on the Google maps.

Just recently, an algorithm named “Fred” (unofficial name) made waves in the SEM industry and seem to have shaken the organic rankings upside down for multiple websites. Although Google didn’t officially confirm the release of the update, however, results make it evident that something has cooked up. Senior SEOs around the world reported brisk fluctuations within the organic rankings.

According to speculations, Fred is largely targeting websites who still have low-quality content published on their pages. Content that was written purely for marketing purposes and has links with a flavor of traditional sales approach seems to be the key target this time.

Google’s algorithm updates are pretty important. They have and will play an important role in the future of search. We need to understand these algorithm changes and adjust our SEO strategy accordingly, in order to maintain a healthy Google ranking.


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