Practically every month, google search algorithm is being updated to improve its search indexes. It can impact your organic traffic and by which, you can see a dip in your overall traffic. In this section, we will be covering 9 major Google Algorithm updates and how can you keep your website up and running without getting affected by them (and in some cases, using these updates to your advantage to gain even more momentum on Google).
a) Panda (Launched on 24th February 2011)
This update majorly checks for any duplicate data on your website. As advised by Google, we should always update the data but the content which is being uploaded should be checked for quality and relevance. To check the duplicate content, regularly monitor your website and perform audits (check for duplicate titles and Meta description). Moreover, there are several online tools which can check for plagiarism of content on your website and also provide information on web pages with lesser content. Example of one such tool is Copyscape.
One should also keep in notice that these Panda-prone errors should be dealt with high priority so that your website wouldn’t get penalized by Google. We should always check the Google Panda update so that if our website is being affected, we can make the changes accordingly.
b) Penguin (Launched on 24th April 2012)
Google wants us to follow the KIS analogy, i.e. Keep It Simple. There are many platforms/companies which provide unethical services. These sources are mainly used for spamming or providing SEO services in an unfair way. Google can monitor almost everything and thus fooling Google is not an easy task. Hence, as per Google guidance, we should always stay away from spam sites or any poor-quality websites. Moreover, try to avert from sources which provide unethical SEO services because Google can track and monitor your growth.
If you have one or two spam backlinks, the chances of Google penalizing your website is quite low. However, if you are spamming a lot or have harmful or low-quality links on your profile, then the chances of penalty is quite high. Also now, Google Penguin update happens live. Previously, some dodgy website owners used to create these bad quality links to get a lot of traffic to their website and make money of it and get affected by Penguin update that happened once a year or every 2 years. But now with live penguin update, the chance of fooling Google has drastically reduced.
c) Google Pirate (Launched in August 2012)
Google Pirate was designed to monitor the content on the website. Any content which is pirated or is under copyright infringement, Google de-ranks them. Though, every day, many websites and links turn out on Google. Hence, it is difficult to monitor. As mentioned above, don’t bother copying anyone’s content on Google and just make sure that your content is unique, original and relevant to your industry.
d) Hummingbird (Launched on 22nd August 2013)
Ever wondered how Google produces search options for us prior to the completion of the sentence we have searched? Google search Algorithm, Hummingbird, is designed entirely to make sure that the long sentences that we search are being taken care of in a smarter way rather than just keyword matches. That means, rather than looking for words and presenting them, Hummingbird understands the phrase/words and looks for the same in accordance with the searcher’s purpose.
As Google is getting smarter, people should understand that stuffing keyword is not going to work. Hence, service providers/websites should keep in mind that keyword stuffing is not going to help them rank better because of this Google search algorithm. The concepts and content should be strong on your website and keywords should be used wisely.
e) Pigeon (Launched on 24th July 2014)
Now, we all know that optimization for a website is important to improve its organic traffic. Going one step further, Google introduced Pigeon update in 2014 which specifically looks at local business listings of businesses to ensure they are relevant. So setting up of Google My Business Page became imperative to generating local presence and leads for a business. This update was highly beneficial to businesses that were trying to attract customers that were geographically closer to their business.
f) Mobile Configurations (Launched on 21st April 2015)
The transition from desktop and laptop to mobile devices like Smartphone and tables has been very quick. Mobile devices are the present and future of digital marketing and Google understands this point very well. So in order to reward websites that are mobile optimized, Google launched an update in 2015. Google now tracks website and mobile rankings separately. So although your website may be doing well on desktop, if you have not optimized it properly for mobile, you will lose potential mobile traffic and sales.
g) Possum (Launched on 1st September 2016)
Are you looking for a pizza place near your location? This update particularly gives you location based searches. All the geo specific tracking is being used by this update. So, it is better in that sense that every business should share their location and even work on the local keyword research. You should be constant touch with Google trends and Google Related Searches for more location based searches.
h) Fred (Launched on 8th March 2017)
This is one the latest updates of Google. The basic area that this update manages is the Google Webmaster. Any website which violates the guidelines related to Google webmaster is kept under the radar. The most prominent reason is the low-quality content on your website so update any thin-content on your webpage. Follow the rules and regulation set by Google related to the thin content.
Always make sure to audit your website in relation to these updates and keep yourself in the good books of Google.