Google makes changes to its ranking algorithm almost every day. Sometimes we know about them, sometimes we don’t.
Here are the most important algorithm updates of recent years…
Panda – 2011
Google’s Panda Update is a search filter introduced in February 2011 meant to stop sites with poor quality content from working their way into Google’s top search results. Panda is updated from time-to-time. When this happens, sites previously hit may escape, if they’ve made the right changes.
- Duplicate Content
- Keyword Stuffing
- Thin Content
- User-Generated Spam
- Irrelevant Content
Penguin – 2012
Google launched the Penguin Update in April 2012 to better catch sites deemed to be spamming its search results, in particular those doing so by buying links or obtaining them through link networks designed primarily to boost Google rankings.
- Links from spammy sites
- Links from topically irrelevant sites
- Paid links
- Links with overly optimized anchor text
Hummingbird – 2013
Unlike the previous Panda and Penguin updates which were initially released as add-ons to Google’s existing algorithm, Hummingbird has been cited as a complete overhaul of the core algorithm. While it’s believed that many preexisting components of the core algorithm remained intact, Hummingbird signaled Google’s commitment to an increasingly sophisticated understanding of the intent of searchers’ queries with the goal of matching them to more relevant results.
- Long-tail keywords
- Unfamiliar search queries
- Natural language
Pigeon – 2014
The Pigeon update rolled out in 2014 and was designed to tie Google’s local search algorithm closer to the main one. Location and distance started to be taken into consideration while ranking the search results. This gave a significant ranking boost to local directory sites as well as creating a much closer connection of Google Web search and Google Map search.
Two years later, when the Possum Update was launched, Google started to return more varied search results depending on the physical location of the searcher. Basically, the closer you are to a business’s address, the more chances you have to see it among local results.
- Showing more authoritative and well-optimized websites in local search results
- Showing search results that are closer to a searcher’s physical location
Mobile Friendly Update – 2015
On April 21, 2015, Google released a significant new mobile-friendly ranking algorithm, also known as Mobilegeddon, that’s designed to give a boost to mobile-friendly pages in Google’s mobile search results.
- All sites (both mobile-friendly and not)
Page Speed Update – 2018
The Page Speed Update rolled out in July of this year, finally making page speed a ranking factor for mobile devices. According to this update, faster websites are supposed to rank higher in search results.
- Slow sites with low Optimization score
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Source: Search Engine Watch