Google's Algorithms and What They Mean For You
When you search the internet, do you ever wonder how Google creates the search results? It's all due to several algorithms that Google has in place in order to provide you with the most relevant search results for your query. Engineers at Google constantly adjust the algorithms to provide better results for users. Many people believe they search the whole web when they plug something into a Google search box. What they don't know is they are not searching the whole web, but Google's index of the web.
Google has released a variety of updates beginning in 2010. Here they are broken down:
- Caffeine: This update rolled out in 2010 and its purpose was to sift through the websites in its index. This algorithm did not greatly impact SEO professionals since it's purpose was to assist Google in improving their search results.
- Panda: The Google Panda algorithm was released in 2011 and is still in use today. Panda crawls sites that are creating and publishing low-quality content on their websites and penalizes them. Panda has been updated 25 times at this point, with more updates on the way. These updates require SEO professionals to create unique and original content in order to avoid penalization from Google.
- Penguin: Following Panda, Google released Penguin in 2012, which altered SEO practices though penalizing spammy sites and keyword stuffing. Websites that practice high-quality SEO, in turn, were rewarded. Links on websites that were found to be irrelevant to the industry that website was focused on were also faced with penalties. Penguin was last updated in October of 2014.
- Hummingbird: The Hummingbird update was unveiled in 2013. This algorithm focuses on what is being searched by users. It aims to better understand what users want. If an SEO professional shares quality content that is original, the Hummingbird update will help Google process the content in better ways.
- Pigeon: Pigeon was released in July 2014 and is Google's most recent update. This algorithm focuses on making local searches more accurate and improving location ranking parameters.
SEO and SEM professionals may notice while doing analytics that their internet traffic fluctuates every time Google releases a new update. There is no need to lose your cool, but if you notice a huge decrease in traffic, then your clients website may need to be updated to improve rank within Google search.
What's New In Google
Google recently announced that it will be releasing two very important updates: the Mobile-Friendly Search Update and the Doorway Algorithm.
Google likes to drop surprise updates, but with this update, they gave advanced warning and some advice. On April 21st, 2015, Google will release it's Mobile-Friendly algorithm. This means that as of April 21st, if your website is not mobile friendly, your search rank will be negatively affected. Mobile-friendly sites will rank higher in the search results page. This will help mobile users find more relevant results when they search on their device.
This algorithm will be real time, meaning that if your site is not mobile-ready by the April deadline, hysteria does not need to ensue. Your site will benefit the minute Google detects the change to mobile-friendliness.
Google does not like doorway pages. But wait, what is a doorway page? A doorway page is created to rank highly for specific searches. Some websites will use doorway pages to pad their search rank, but the pages have no clear value. Google states that doorway pages harm the quality of the user's experience.
Google does not want these pages to rank in search results and will penalize these doorway campaigns in their search ranking results. Google released several questions to ask yourself to find out if your webpages will be considered doorway pages in the new algorithm update. If you answer yes to any of the questions, it may be time to do an overhaul of some of your web pages and focus your attention on creating quality landing pages for users.
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