Categories
GMB Google Local SEO Off-Page SEO On-Page SEO SEO

A History of Major Google Algorithm Updates/Changes

Every year, Google makes several changes to search. In 2018, they reported an incredible 3,234 updates — an average of almost 9 per day, and more than eight times the number of updates in 2009. While most of these changes are minor, Google occasionally rolls out a major algorithmic update (such as Panda and Penguin) that affects search results in significant ways.

For search marketers, knowing when major Google updates happened can help explain changes in rankings and organic website traffic and ultimately improve search engine optimization.

Below, we’ve listed the significant algorithmic changes that have had the biggest impact on Search.

Recent Google Changes That Impact SEO

Panda Update – February 2011

Panda launched on February 24, 2011. It was aimed at dealing with quality and optimization issues that the search engine identified in several websites indexed at the time. It assigns a quality score to webpages, which are then used as a ranking factor. The Panda Update is also known as the Farmer Update. When this update was implemented, it had a significant impact on a broad range of companies that operated online. Panda was introduced to improve search quality by eliminating prevailing content farms as well as spam sites that were designed to take advantage of Google’s vulnerabilities.

Panda has done excellent at cleaning up low-quality sites that occupy valuable SERP real estate. The update did not come without its share of problems, especially for companies with e-commerce initiatives. Websites, both big and small, started disappearing from the usual keyword ranks they had previously owned for years. Lots of companies were impacted negatively and were utterly unable to recover traffic.

Numerous updates have been made to the Panda Update, with most of them focusing on eliminating obstructive spam sites. These Panda updates have concentrated on getting advertisers to achieve their maximum search potential.

Penguin Update – April 2012

This was launched on April 24, 2012. This update specifically targeted link spam as well as manipulative link building practices. Matt Cutts, head of the Google webspam team, officially announced the update via Twitter as the Penguin Algorithm Update. It was an extension to the Panda Update and was Google’s response to the increasing practice of black hat search engine optimization techniques, which are used to gain higher search rankings in ways that violate search engine guidelines. Many updates were made to the Penguin algorithm since its launch in 2012 including;

Google Penguin 1.1(March 26, 2012)

Google Penguin 1.2 (October 5, 2012)

Google Penguin 2.0 (May 22, 2013)

Google Penguin 2.1 (October 4, 2013)

Google Penguin3.0 (October 17, 2014)

Google Penguin 4.O (September 23, 2016)

With the last update, Penguin became a part of the core algorithm, meaning it evaluates websites and links in real-time.

Hummingbird Update – August 2013

The Hummingbird Update was launched on August 22, 2013. The name Hummingbird came from the speed and precision of the update. This new algorithm allows Google to understand phrases better, providing precise results to complex search queries. It expands the brand content strategy to have more informational content on their site. Also, it gives substitutions as a user enters the query. It also brings out results far more complex search queries. Google’s knowledge graph also appears more often than it did previously, giving more direct answers in search results.

Hummingbird has improved how users are sent to a specific page and directed to the information they are seeking. Hummingbird has also promoted voice-powered searches, helping to create a smarter search engine that can better decipher user intent. Hummingbird update has been branded “the heart of Google’s search engine” as it can filter billions of pages to find the most relevant search results.

Pigeon Update – July 2014

Google’s Pigeon was released on July 24, 2014. This Google algorithm update, unlike its predecessors, was designed to give more accurate and relevant local search results. Google rewarded local businesses that had a strong organic presence with better visibility in traditional search results. Several updates on Pigeon have been made since 2014.

In many ways, Pigeon can be described as not being punitive; rather, it serves a specific group of users best.

Mobile Update – April 2015

This was launched on April 21, 2015. This update ensures that when users use the search engine on their mobile phones, mobile-friendly pages rank closer to the top. This is to provide optimum usability and speed.

Rank Brain Updates – October 2015

These updates were launched on October 26, 2015. It worked like a refresh to Google’s Hummingbird algorithm. It helped Google to understand user queries better than before.

Possum Updates – September 2016

It was launched on September 1, 2016. It basically helped to ensure that locations given to the users were as accurate to the users’ current location as possible

Fred Update – March 2017

This was launched on March 8, 2017, and is one of the latest of Google’s major confirmed updates. It helps to ensure that Google’s webmaster guidelines are adhered to by targeting violations.

Core Update – June 2019

In a rare move, Google announced they would be releasing a new update prior to rolling it out. The update is thought to have affected low-quality news sites while boosting trusted aggregator sites. It may have also affected video carousels, with many YouTube channels seeing 25% increases in traffic.

Broad Core Algorithm Update – September 2019

Broad updates don’t tend to target anything specific; instead, they improve the overall effectiveness of Google’s systems. This can lead to drops or gains in the ranking, and the main advice from Google is to focus on producing quality content. These updates won’t penalize any websites, but they will reassess any new content featured in search results since the last update, and possibly rank quality content higher. Content improvements can aid recovery from any drop in ranking.

BERT Update – October 2019

Allegedly one of the most significant changes to Google search in the past five years, the BERT update focused on better understanding search queries. Google’s official explanation was:

“These improvements are oriented around improving language understanding, particularly for more natural language/conversational queries, as BERT can help Search better understand the nuance and context of words in Searches and better match those queries with helpful results.

Particularly for longer, more conversational queries, or searches where prepositions like “for” and “to” matter a lot to the meaning, Search will be able to understand the context of the words in your query. You can search in a way that feels natural for you.”

For more info check out- source

Categories
Google Off-Page SEO On-Page SEO Organic Traffic SEO

Improve Your Rankings by Gaining Google’s Trust Algorithm

You’ve been there. You designed a beautiful website, filled it with engaging content, and optimized it for SEO but then the moment of truth arrived.

You typed your keyword into Google, sure that your new website would at least make it to page one or even the top spot. But to your disappointment, it was nowhere in sight, not even on page two.

What went wrong?

Why did your site not rank as highly as you expected?

Does Google hate you?

No, it has nothing against you. It just doesn’t trust you, at least not yet…

How Google Works

But why doesn’t Google trust you? To know the reason ‘why’ you must first understand how it works. In the past, keywords were the main ranking factor. So with a high keyword density, your site was sure to rank highly.

Today, however, the algorithms prefer relevance to keywords. A relevant website provides value, gains people’s trust, and attracts more visitors. And in turn, Google rewards it with a high ranking.

Which brings us to the next question: How do you gain Google’s trust? Here are a few ways how.

Proper Indexing

When your website launches, Google’s robots crawl over it, searching for key data. At the top of their search list are keywords, domain age, domain authority, and content quality – all key ranking factors. Shortly after, the bots send the data back to the search engine for indexing and ranking.

Now, what happens when they fail to crawl over your site properly? Two things.

One, insufficient data makes it back to Google, which then considers your site less trustworthy than it really is. For this reason, confirm through Google Analytics or domain.com whether your page is properly indexed. If it isn’t, request to have the bots crawl over it again.

Two, no data at all finds its way to Google. Your site remains unindexed and, therefore, invisible to internet users. In such cases, take another look at your robots.txt file. It tells the bots which pages to crawl and not to crawl. If it’s poorly coded, it stops them from reading your entire site. So read its contents carefully and correct any errors you find.

Proper Website Design

Google trusts well-designed websites for obvious reasons. They’re more engaging and user-friendly. And they all have the following features in common.

For starters, they work on mobile devices, read flash, and contain image captions or alt tags. What’s more, they feature straightforward menus and live links, making them easy to navigate.

If your site fails to meet these requirements, upgrade it. Otherwise, Google will drop its ranking.

High Traffic

Internet users looking to search engines for one thing only – answers. After typing a keyword or question in the search bar, they expect the links in the results page to provide a solution to their problem. So when they click on your link and it provides none, they quickly leave it, never to return.

But if your link answers their queries, they flock to your site in droves. Google then notices the increase in traffic and rightly assumes you provide value to your visitors. And in response, it boosts your trust ranking

Google’s Guidelines

Google frowns upon and even penalizes any site, which violates its guidelines. Is your website guilty of these violations? Let’s find out.

Have you duplicated pages, used spammy links, or written worthless content? And has your site been recently hacked into? If you’ve answered “yes” to any of those questions-fix the violations or Google will continue to distrust you.

Original Content

Have you ever opened a website, only to discover that it’s a carbon copy of the one you’ve just visited? How did that make you feel? Disgusted, most likely.

So why should Google feel any differently? In fact, it hates copied content so much that it has created algorithms not only to detect plagiarism but also to penalize it.

Fresh Content

You created original, useful content years back, and it ranked highly. But since then, its ranking has steadily dropped, yet you’ve not altered the content. What could be the problem?

It’s your doing nothing. Google loves fresh content. But that doesn’t mean you have to write new material every day. A post a week is often enough to maintain high trust rankings. Alternatively, update your current copy regularly.

Keyword Use

Earlier, we saw that Google no longer focuses on keywords as it used to in the past. Should you then ignore them altogether? Absolutely not!

Researched and targeted correctly, keywords drive traffic to your site. After all, they reveal better than anything else what it’s all about. But when using them, focus less on density and more on LSI keywords, which are keywords related to the main keyword.

Anchor Text

It’s common practice to use keywords, both chose and LSI, as anchor text. Unfortunately, keywords sometimes sound unnatural when used in this way. And when they do, Google notices.

Its Penguin algorithm then considers your content spammy and untrustworthy. Even worse, it demotes you from your rankings, the penalty it reserves for all spam.

High-Quality Links

As you’re well aware, links raise your SEO profile. But in your quest to add them to your site, avoid any linking to and from new, low-authority, or banned websites. Google considers such links as questionable and understandably so.

Now, what do you do if you already have them on your site? You have two options. One, remove them and replace them with better ones. Or two, disavow them.

User Experience

Earlier, we saw that Google loves well-designed websites with a focus on user experience. But what exactly is user-experience and how can you apply it to your site? For the answer, think back to your own experience.

Don’t you just love fast-loading sites with easy navigation, few pop-ups, no broken links, and engaging content? So will your site’s visitors.

Engaging Content

To grab your visitor’s attention and keep it, create engaging content. Besides the rules of grammar, also apply the rules of common sense. For instance, write short sentences and paragraphs.

Unlike large blocks of text, they seem less intimidating. Likewise, avoid jargon to make your text readable.

Mobile Compatibility

Rather than use a desktop computer, most internet users now access the web through their mobile devices. Google knows this. So from 2018, it has been prioritizing mobile-friendly websites in its search results and index. To make the most of this change, ensure your site is mobile-compatible.

Social Media Compatibility

As far as Google is concerned, social media is not yet a ranking factor. But make no mistake: The platform directs traffic to your site, which as we saw earlier boosts your rankings. So post regularly on social media and make sure to include social media links in your site.

Conclusion

To rank highly on Google, focus on building trust with both the search engine and your visitors. Fortunately, this is an easy thing to do provided you’re willing to apply yourself.