Google Algorithms at a Glance
Rankbrain, Fred, Panda… say what? If you’ve heard the dizzying amount of names and terms for Google algorithms over the years and wondering what any of it means we’ve got your back. As the search engine optimization industry has taken off over the last decade, so has Google’s development of search result techniques, known as algorithms. To stay on top of an influx of bad SEO, from keyword stuffing to useless content, algorithm updates have been initiated to ensure that the best quality results for searchers appear at their fingertips. This means that users are getting the most useful results for their search efforts, which in turn enforces rules for the online marketing industry to stay true to best practices. Following best practices also means that websites can maintain their domain authority, reputation and expertise in their related fields.
We’ve listed the top updates over the last decade or so, why they were implemented and what that means for website owners and digital marketers.
Panda: This was the first major Google algorithm update to rank sites with quality content higher than websites employing black-hat SEO techniques like keyword stuffing, and low-quality or plagiarized content.
Take away: the time has come to stick to 1-3 main keywords per page while writing useful and unique content for website audiences.
Penguin: this update addressed the problem of linking schemes implemented on websites to hack search result rankings.
Take away: much like paying someone to write your school essay rather than writing it yourself, this update reflected the need for marketers and website owners to develop their linking strategy organically.
Hummingbird: this update introduced a new way of retrieving search results, based on the context of search keywords. Hummingbird made Google more intuitive and able to pick up on the nuances so that words like “shop” were differentiated based on the context of shopping vs. storefronts.
Take away: this helps users when searching on Google to retrieve the most accurate results for the search they’re inquiring about.
Mobilegeddon: yep, that’s the technical term for this apocalyptical update that ranked sites with user-friendly mobile designs higher in search results.
Take away: it’s time for all websites to be responsive, and place an emphasis on mobile-first designs.
RankBrain: In a way, this is a phase two of Hummingbird. As of 2015, Google began to focus on artificial intelligence to sort search results. In this machine-learning update the focus is really on the 15% of unique queries Google receives a day; and developed so that the algorithm teaches itself a skill. In this scenario, the skill is interpreting search queries for ideal results.
Takeaway: continued reinforcement that Google cares about relevant results.This means that the more relevant you can make your website content to the keywords you’re applying, the more chances you have of getting ranked above the competition.
Fred: A name for an algorithm in 2017 that Google jokingly applied and then stuck. Fred took up where Panda left off to further penalize sites with poor quality content that is carbon copies of already existing content online. It focused on sites that were catering to revenue needs over their customer experiences. When this algorithm launched, many websites saw traffic drop anywhere from 50-90%.
Takeway: expertise, and thoughtfully applied copywriting, navigation and functionality for your target audiences is a key factor in ranking and that’s not going to change anytime soon. Ultimately, Google favours customer service that goes above and beyond.
Do you have questions about your website’s analytics, or concerned you’re not meeting the requirements of Google algorithm updates? We can help you optimize your site to give you the best possible success in search result visibility. Ask us about our SEO services and give us a call at (778) 441-2535 or email firstname.lastname@example.org