If you’ve been around Internet marketing for any length of time, you’ve probably heard the term “Google Algorithm” tossed around. You may be wondering exactly what it means. Google’s Algorithm is basically the blueprints that guide their search engine robots in finding the most relevant websites to present to a search query. The Google algorithms are changing constantly, but the main principle remains the same: Sites that are most relevant will be shown in Google search results. This is how Google ranks websites by their relevance to searches.
One of the most recent algorithm updates was the Panda Update. In this update, Google decided to take an additional two years to update the algorithm. Many SEO experts were shocked by this and wondered what Google was thinking.
Let’s put this into perspective. Google is one of the biggest companies in the world. The company employs over one hundred billion dollars in revenue. So, the decision to delay Panda and move on to the new, improved algorithm, really didn’t make sense. That being said, the new algorithm, named Penguin, has actually been tested and Google says that it will have a very positive effect on search rankings.
So, why did Google postpone the Panda and Penguin updates? Well, according to a Google spokesperson, “The intent behind the Google SEO updates is to provide users with a better experience. We want to create a simpler, more intuitive interface for searching the web. We’ve also improved our detection of spam, improved our referral system and improved our privacy policies. All of these areas need to continue to be focused on if we’re going to continue to grow.”
However, if you look at the Google organic traffic ranking charts, you’ll see that after the two Penguin updates, October 2021 was actually one of the lowest monthly Google search engine traffic ranking months ever. Most people are attributing this drop in traffic to the bad egg that was Google AdSense. This update affected AdSense by killing the benefit of getting free traffic through PPC ads. Since Google AdSense made a killing, many publishers decided to follow suit and stop making their PPC ads available. Since then, PPC traffic to websites hasn’t picked up.
So, now back to the original question, “Why did Google change their algorithm?” The answer to that question lies in part with Google’s desire to focus on quality rather than on quantity. One of the ways Google measures a website’s quality is its Page Rank, or PR. Google is concerned about the quality of links that it receives from websites that are of low quality. Therefore, whenever a webmaster builds a lot of sites with low-quality links, Google will find that site’s PR and knock it down in its rankings.
In a July 2021 press release, Google laid out some of the reasons for their algorithm changes. Among them was a comment by Larry Page that the old ranking algorithms were too strict. He mentioned that Google used to punish sites that had poor content. Google may have gotten too picky about the exact same factors that it uses for their search algorithm, resulting in some of the odd PR situations we’ve seen in the last year. Google didn’t share any details on when or why the changes may take place, so we may never know exactly when Google will implement this new feature.
Currently, we can only speculate on what the algorithm change means for SEO. Google has made it clear that they value high quality links and we can only hope that once the change takes effect, sites with low-quality links will see their rankings drop. However, the latest press releases by Google do indicate that the new algorithm will not affect organic search results greatly. For now, the best advice for webmasters is to focus your attention on content, rather than link popularity.