The Google Algorithm, or the Panda, Penguin, and Hummingbird Google algorithms, have dramatically reshaped the internet search landscape over recent years. All with their own different agenda, all three updates have had the common goal of giving searchers better search results. However, there are a few differences between the Google three algorithms that can make a difference when it comes to the ranking and placement of your website. Keep reading to learn what these updates mean for SEO.
The first algorithm change was the introduction of Penguin, which Google released in late 2014. Penguin targeted websites with certain keywords that were being used to conduct criminal activities such as fraud and password theft. The result is that websites that have many of these specific words as parts of their URL will be affected by the change. This algorithm change affected not only the most popular sites, but also those that were less commonly used. In some cases, the ranking of the less frequently used sites actually dropped, although this was short lived.
Google released two more major updates to the Google algorithm in 2015. The final Google update of the year was the Panda update, which resulted in the removal of some low quality sites and the creation of a new ranking system, Google+ Local. In addition, Google released two other algorithm updates in January and February, which were equally unpopular among many internet marketers and business owners. The Google Panda update resulted in the banning of many pages from being listed in the Google search engines. Google Penguin targeted sites that were using bad SEO practices, such as the use of internal links to high PageRank keywords.
One of the main reasons for these Google algorithm updates was to address user concerns about the level of advertising and marketing on the web. Concerns about advertising and marketers influencing search results were at an all time high in 2009. Google updates solved this issue and made it harder for marketers to game the system and manipulate search results. Google updates also started a new trend of organic search results, which means that the results will come from natural user searches, rather than paid advertisements.
In December of 2014 Google released the Panda update, which is largely the same as the Penguin update of 2014. Although Google has not yet said anything about the algorithm change, I have created my own personal website to research the matter further. Google’s new feature, known as Penguin, resulted in many websites being removed from the Google indexing because of their behavior. Google Penguin banned sites that over-optimized for key phrases, created fake author names, used duplicate content and took shortcuts such as creating a new page for each keyword.
Google launched the Penguin update in October, which resulted in a large drop in rankings across the board for many popular websites including Facebook, Twitter and Wikipedia. Google decided to roll out the latest Penguin update in order to bring better user experience to their site, as well as making the process more simplified. This means that it now requires more effort on the part of users to obtain a top ranking in the Google indexing. However, some website owners were quick to point out the bad effects of this algorithm change, such as Google removing Wikipedia from its indexing citing “diffs” with other websites as a reason.
Another algorithm change which was introduced in December was the Panda update, which Google launched in September. The Panda update saw many websites being affected, including Amazon, Wikipedia and New York Times. Some of these sites received a lower rank within days of being added to the Google indexing, which Google attributed to the excessive spamming that occurred during the holidays. Google introduced two types of Penguin updates to counteract this, which included: Clear Google Analytics Tracking and Clear Google Content Network.
Despite these negative developments, some still believe that Google has made good strides forward with its attempts to combat spammy websites and implement better measures to detect unnatural link building techniques. In light of all of the changes and updates, we would advise SEO practitioners to remain patient and wait for Google to settle down with regards to their algorithm updates. While we understand the frustration of attempting to optimize your site for the best search engine results, it is ultimately a numbers game as Google wants to bring the most relevant websites to their visitors. Google will continue to make improvements and add new features in an attempt to accomplish this goal.