Google changes its algorithm a lot more than many digital marketers realize The algorithm is constantly being changed, amended and updated to fit in with Google’s new standards, so marketers must always be ready for anything.
According to Optima Worldwide the Google algorithm is reworked multiple times a day, which can count for some huge changes by the end of the year. It’s vital that those involved with SEO and online marketing understand what these changes include and how they affect them.
So, here are some of the biggest algorithm changes to date:
Most marketers will have heard of Google Panda because of the massive changes it brought about in the way Google ranks websites. It first emerged in February 2011 and its aim was to reduce the Page Rank of websites that it deemed ‘low quality’.
The Panda update targets websites which:
Don’t provide quality information for users.
Have duplicated content on multiple pages within the site.
Features plagiarized content which appears on other websites.
Has spelling or factual mistakes within the copy.
In total, the original Google Panda update is said to have affected 12% of search results.
In August 2011 the Panda update was rolled out globally, having previously been contained to the USA. This change affected between 6 and 9% of global searches.
In June 2011 Google announced plans for a new social network, which would go head-to-head with the likes of Twitter and Facebook. The main aspect of Google+ was on sharing content and people were quick to jump on the bandwagon. It became the fastest growing social network in history, garnering over 25 million users in just two months.
Search+ Your World
The Search+ Your World algorithm change of January 2012 was incredibly controversial. With the Search+ Your World update, both Google+ users and those without a Google+ account would see the following in page results:
Personal results (personal photos and posts from Google+)
Profiles (Google+ profiles from other users)
People and pages (links to Google+ user pages and business pages)
This meant that Google+ pages would rank higher than Facebook, Twitter and other social media pages that had previously out-ranked Google+ pages.
The Google Penguin update was rolled out in April 2012 and worked to penalised sites that used ‘black hat SEO’ techniques.
These techniques included:
Cloaking (providing two versions of a page which increases its rankings but doesn’t give a good user experience. These pages usually link to low-quality sites in reality).
Link schemes (buying links, unnatural link exchanges, using automated link programs).
The initial algorithm change affected just over 3% of English language results.
In August 2012 Google announced a new algorithm change that would limit certain SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) to 7 queries rather than 10. This pushed a lot of pages previously ranking on page one onto the second page.
SEOMoz conducted research into the change by spot-checking tracked keywords to see how many results appeared on the SERPs. In the end, 18% of its tracked keywords were limited to just 7 queries on SERPs.
For those that were previously on page one for their SERPS but have now been pushed to page two, the best way to recover from this is to make positive changes to webpages. This can help users to get their pages back onto page one.
These changes can include:
Using branded keywords.
Increasing informative content around targeted keywords.
Boosting link building to drive traffic to pages.
Google changes its algorithm more times than anyone could keep up with, but it’s vital to stay one step ahead so as not to be taken off guard. The best way to do this is to utilize white hate SEO techniques and to follow Google’s guidelines every step of the way.
This post was provided by Aurora Johnson on behalf of Custard, an SEO company in Preston offering a range of digital marketing services.