SEO is an ever evolving field. What rules were valid yesterday may or may not be true today. Similarly what rules are applicable today may no longer be applicable in their pure form in the future. Search engines are in a major way responsible for how the common person uses SEO. Google for example wants to provide the best experience for users. Hence, they are changing the way they provide search results. In the past unethical folks used SEO to their advantage to provide substandard content. Their intention was to move high up in rankings without delivering any quality content.
But gone are the old days now. Search engines are getting smarter. They are constantly in the process of research and development to remove any deficiencies in their method of working. They are one step ahead of those who want to cheat them. And one way to do that is to regularly come up with updates and process changes. Google makes a lot of changes to its algorithms and frequently comes up with something new. It chooses not to announce all its algorithms. There could a reason to it. By not publicizing each and every algorithms, Google prevents some people from messing with SEO rankings. There are some unscrupulous people in this world who will do anything to fool with Google updates.
Let us see some of the major algorithms Google has come up with. Anybody who is interested in SEO rankings and has online interests should keep a watch for such updates.
What is Google Panda? This was a major Google SEO algorithm. Before 2011, there were lot of complaints regarding low quality contents showing on top of search rankings. ‘Content Farms’ were the leading cause of such low content sites. Content farms are websites that collect information from various sources to compile it in one single website. Often the information was stolen in order to create a large collection of pages. This was done in order to rank high on Google on the basis of keywords.
But on February 2011, Google changed all that. The Panda algorithm was launched in that period which filtered out sites which provided low quality duplicate content and were involved in keyword stuffing. Sites which did not provide any value-added services to users saw themselves at the bottom of search rankings. Initially this algorithm was known as the Farmer update. But later it came to be known as the Panda algorithm. Panda incidentally has nothing to do with the actual animal, rather this algorithm was named after a software engineer whose name was Panda.
Penguins are considered cute creatures located near the poles. But this Penguin algorithm is not a lovable bird but rather a change in Google’s search techniques which has upset the SEO world. After the Panda algorithm, Google continued its attack on low-quality content through the Penguin algorithm. Launched in April 2012, this project aims to end search engine spam (Black Hat SEO) from attaining a high ranking in search engine results. Keyword stuffing and spammed backlinks were on its primary hit list. This algorithm also targeted hidden links and hidden keywords on webpages.
This project was a major Google algorithm to change how people viewed SEO. Initiated in 2013, it was different than the previous Panda and Penguin algorithms. Rather than focusing on keywords, Hummingbird placed great emphasis on the context of the content. It preferred natural, logical content rather than actual keywords. Hummingbird valued websites which sought to enhance the human experience rather than search engine requirements. With this algorithm Google is trying to tell us to focus on quality content and on-page SEO.
In its continuous attempt to provide better SEO experience to users, Google launched the Pigeon algorithm in 2014. This project was different than the previous ones as it concentrated on local searches. With the initiation of this algorithm Google’s goal was “providing a more useful and relevant experience for searchers seeking local results”. Pigeon aims to help both the Google user as well as local businesses. The user’s geographical location plays a major part in this search. Local business directories are now seeing better visibility in search rankings after the beginning of Pigeon.
These were some of the algorithms which affected search engine traffic. It changed how people were doing SEO. We can expect further such Google updates in the future. But there is no need to worry for the genuine, ethical website or blog owner. Just post fresh unique content, avoid keyword stuffing, give up spamming backlinks, take care of On- and Off-page SEO, etc. Most important of all, be sure to keep an eye on future Google updates.