Of hundreds of Google algorithm updates released over the past decade, only a few have had a major impact on SEO. Panda. Date: August 10, 2021. Highlights: Reformation of Google’s two-step quality process; removal of the “Google Phone” feature; addition of detailed site maps; removal of adult content; rejection of self-professed white hat techniques; and creation of Google+ local recommendations. On the other hand, Google Penguin, which came into effect on September 27, has also turned the SEO game on its head.
Here are the major Google algorithm updates impacted on SEO: Panda and Penguin. These two Google updates resulted in many questions and confusion, especially among novice SEO practitioners. To help you learn the basic difference and how they may impact your business, below is a quick summary of each update.
Panda update was arguably one of the most significant updates to Google in the past decade. The algorithm change essentially banned all Google pages from the indexing process of the search engine. The rationale behind this new policy is to improve Google’s ability to provide relevant results to its users, specifically to searchers from outside the United States. On the other hand, some SEOs argue that the move is too drastic for websites like Google Places, Google Finance, Google Maps, and other local listings directories. Still, others say that with Google’s new updates, the only way to survive in the SEO game is to adapt and make the necessary changes.
The second major algorithm update to Google was Penguin. Unlike Panda, Google’s latest update introduced a much broader range of penalties for sites that have been significantly penalized in the past. As we discussed in our previous SEO article, Google is looking to reduce the influence of spam links on search results and increase the influence of quality content and unique offerings. Penguin actually increased penalties for websites with high levels of inbound link spam, but even those websites found to have a low amount of spam were affected by the updates.
The third major update to Google is currently underway. Currently, we don’t know what the fourth Google algorithm update will bring, as there are many experts speculating on what Google might do next. If you’re an SEO practitioner, it’s important for you to understand the recent changes and their potential implications on your profession. While we can’t predict what Google might do, we can explain what some of the changes are.
The first algorithm update to Google, known as the Florida update, targeted Google Places and provided penalties to those websites that have used automatic redirection on their websites. Redirecting occurs when a user types in a website address to get to a specific page on a search engine result page, but instead clicks on a link provided on the results page instead. Though the purpose of these links is clear – to direct the user to the right page – Google was not necessarily wrong in implementing this feature. However, many webmasters abused this functionality, resulting in their pages being incorrectly categorized and consequently banned. As a result, the algorithm now restricts redirection activities for all results pages, including Google Maps, Blogs, and News.
The second major update aimed at the search results algorithm is the introduction of Page Rank. Page Rank is an aspect of Google’s ranking system based on various aspects, most notably on the quality of the links that point at a webpage. Google introduced two different methods of improving Page Rank, and though they have not yet released the details, both methods are set to change significantly. The first method is the so-called quality score update aimed at improving the quality of links, which Google feels improves page rankings. The second method is called the inbound link audit, which Google felt could help detect spam pages and remove them from the index.
The third major update, which you might have missed if you happened to be following Google news during the past year, was the introduction of Google Instant. Google Instant is an instant update to Google search results, offering the user the ability to see the latest information instantly. For example, if you search for a particular keyword or phrase, Google will present you with the most relevant results shown within a matter of seconds. The new feature, however, is only available on desktop and is yet to make its way to the Google Blog and other external sites. We expect Google Instant to become a part of all Google searches in the future.