Google Algorithm Updates, Their Impacts & How to Align your SEO Strategy with them
by Ammar Falak
Being the leader in search engine spectrum, Google Algorithms’ Significance in the SEO Market is immense.
Google changes its search algorithms approximately 500 times every year to provide the best results for its users. Most of them are minor changes, but sometimes Google rolls out major updates that change the SEO dynamics significantly.
Listed below are some of the major algorithm updates that Google has rolled out in recent times:
Launched: September, 2013
Focus: Precise & Fast. Focus on the complete sentence rather than words.
With the addition of Hummingbird, SEO changed a little. The objective of this update was to provide natural content that reads conversationally. With the growing number of voice searches through smartphones more emphasis should be given to long-tail keywords.
2) Panda Update
Launched: February, 2011
Focus: To stop poor quality content sites to rank higher.
Panda update was introduced to stop websites with poor content to rank higher on Google. Updated from time to time, Panda was last updated on March 2014. Whenever Panda gets updated, the previously hit sites escapes if they have made the correct changes. It also catches the sites that escaped before.
3) Penguin Update
Launched: April, 2012
Focus: To catch sites deemed to be spamming its search results.
Just like the Panda update, Penguin update also gets updated from time to time. With the help of the Penguin update, the search engine giant intends to catch sites believed to be spamming its search results by buying links or procuring them through link networks intended to boost Google rankings.
4) Pigeon Update
Launched: July, 2014
Focus: To provide preference to local search results.
The Pigeon update was launched to provide users with relevant, useful and accurate local search results. This helps in creating walk-ins for local businesses and provides users with precise locations for their search results. In order to align SEO activities with the Pigeon update, webmasters must focus on the distance and the pin point location.
5) Payday Update
Launched: June, 2013
Focus: Cleaning up spam queries.
Payday Update has been launched to penalize websites that uses black hat SEO among other spam techniques to improve their search engine rankings on Google.
6) Pirate Update
Launched: August, 2012
Focus: Copyright infringement reports
Intending to discourage online piracy, the Pirate update intends to demote websites that have a large number of valid copyright removal notices filed through Google’s DMCA system.
7) EMD Update
Launched: September, 2012
Focus: Focus on content rather than domain name match.
Exact Match Domain (EMD) was updated by Google to stop poor quality websites to rank higher just because they contain words that match the domain name with the search term.
The only way to recover or not get affected by this update to improve the quality of the site with quality content, good site speed, relevant visuals, avoiding keyword stuffing among other white SEO activities.
8) Top Heavy Update
Launched: January, 2012
Focus: Heavy sites (with Ads)
Websites with Top Heavy spam and over use of Ads on their webpages were targeting by Google with this update. Google intends to provide the best and the most user-friendly experience for its users, which obviously they can’t receive due to heavy ads on a webpage which also reduces the site speed drastically.
9) Mobile Friendly Update
Launched: April, 2015
Focus: To boost Mobile friendly webpages.
Acknowledging the rapid growth in the smartphone era, Google launched its Mobile-Friendly update with the intention to display better search results for the mobile users.
Webmasters need to make sure that their website is ready to serve the smaller screens without causing any mishaps in order to combat this update.
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