SEO is a very important aspect of your website. All the SEO efforts and tactics that you use to enhance the rank of your website highly depend upon the rules set by Google. Yes, Google keeps releasing new algorithm updates to fix the problems faced by the users and provide them with better results.
These algorithms decide the factors that can boost your website ranking as well as the factors that can deteriorate your ranking. These SEO factors never remain the same as Google keeps changing its priorities and demands of features that they want in a website with every new algorithm. These changes are highly based on the new needs and demands of the audience.
Let’s see how various Google algorithms have affected the SEO of websites until now:
1. Google Panda Updates:
Google launched the Panda updates from February 2011 to January 2016. The main motive of these updates was to evaluate and rank sites on the basis of content quality. Due to these updates, many websites having low-quality content and duplicate content got lower ranks and penalized by Google.
The few things which Google highly discarded in this update are:
• Thin content: Content which doesn’t have any value for users is known as thin content. This type of content usually adds very little or no value in the total meaning. Your website should contain extensive answers to users’ queries.
• Duplicate content: Google disapproves plagiarised texts. Many websites copy same texts from other websites and use them as it is. This practice is despised by Google, and such websites are penalized.
• Low-quality content: Content that doesn’t contain any proper meaning or that is poorly formatted or framed comes under this category. The websites with this type of content can’t get high ranks.
So, you should upgrade your content to enhance its quality and remove the pages that add no value to the site in order to impress your users as well as the Panda algorithm.
2. Google Penguin Updates:
Google has introduced several updates from April 2012 to September 2016 with the name penguin. These updates rank a website on the basis of its link quality. These updates were aimed at identifying the sites that stuff their websites with cheap and spammy links for higher ranking and punish them. This is an automatic algorithm which will not rank your site until it is free from all the unnatural backlinks.
The update negatively affects the sites which:
• Buy links from cheap sources through money or in exchange for products/services.
• Use same anchor text in varied backlinks.
• Using Low-quality backlinks and linking to contextually irrelevant sites.
• Stuff the content with keywords.
So, you should avoid doing all this and check your backlinks department before you get caught by penguin algorithm. You should earn backlinks from authentic and trustworthy sites. Link your pages to contextually relevant pages to get better rankings.
3. Google Pigeon Updates:
Google added a localized element into its algorithm through Pigeon updates in July 2014. This update was done mainly to deliver the list of best and nearest businesses to users who want to get local search results.
For example, if the user will search for “Chinese food in Delhi”, then he will get details of nearest restaurants that serve Chinese food. So, the location of your business and its distance from the searcher also affect your rankings now.
To attract more audience that is near to you by using this algorithm, you should:
• Add your location in keywords.
• Use images, texts and other media files that are associated with your location.
• Add your business details in Google directories and Google My Business.
• Mention your company’s name, address and contact details in these lists.
4. Google Hummingbird Update:
Launched in August 2013, the hummingbird is one of the most important and distinct updates of Google. It doesn’t change the way of evaluating the websites directly, but it has improved how Google perceive and interpret the searches done by users.
Google started to focus on each word of the search results, instead of just keywords, to get a better understanding of context and provide the most relevant results to the users. You can meet the standards of the hummingbird algorithm by understanding the thought process of your target audience.
Provide information that your audience would try to find in the results. Doing so will help them in reaching your website. Don’t just focus on keywords, but also sprinkle your content with synonyms and words that are contextually related to your keywords.
5. Google Mobile-Friendly Updates (Mobilegeddon):
Due to the increasing use of mobile phones to perform searches, Google has launched updates from April 2015 to January 2017 to make websites mobile-friendly. The main motive was to give preference to the mobile-friendly sites over the non-mobile friendly ones.
This was done to provide an enhanced experience to the mobile users as we started heading to a mobile-first world. Lots of companies got the motivation to optimize their sites for mobiles in order to pass the new algorithm with flying colours.
You can make your site mobile-friendly to get higher rankings by:
• Making your website responsive so that it can adjust as per the screen size
• Choosing large fonts for the texts
• Removing too many annoying pop-ups that hang the mobiles
• Increasing the loading speed of your site
6. Google Fred:
Fred is the name given to all the minor updates that Google keeps doing on a day-to-day basis. However, here we are talking about one particular Fred which became bigger and troublesome for many sites. After affecting the rankings and traffic of numerous websites, it came into notice. This was launched in March 2017.
The sites that were negatively affected by Fred have some common features:
• These websites were giving more importance to ad revenue than the content.
• These sites contained thin or low-value content.
• These sites were having too many pop-ups, low mobile friendliness and poor user experience.
So, these Google algorithms still affect websites and their rankings.