“Oh no, Google has just made a new algorithm change…” is what was often heard from the SEO boys I worked with in a large media company, who had a long list of global corporate sites to manage.
Google has a long history of infamous algorithm updates, search index changes and refreshes, which I’ll briefly outline here for you.
But before I do, let me reassure you that if you are building your site for your audience, highlighting and representing your business products and services in the most honest and target market focused way, then you really don’t ever need to worry about Google’s algorithm changes or updates.
But if you’re curious about what each one is about, here’s the list and a brief summary for you.
- Panda (Feb 2011) – This update was meant to stop sites with poor quality content working their way to the top of the Google SERPS.
- Top Heavy (Jan 2012) – This prevents sites that are top heavy with ads from ranking well in it’s listings.
- Penguin (April 2012) – This change was targeting sites that were deemed to be spamming the SERPs, doing so by buying or obtaining links through link networks designed primarily to boost Google rankings.
- Pirate (August 2012) – Aimed to prevent sites with many copyright infringement reports from ranking well in Google. For this reason it’s important that all your content is original and not a direct copy from another page or website.
- EMD – Exact Match Domain (Sept 2012) – This update prevents poor quality websites from ranking well primarily because they had words in their domains that match a search query.
- Payday (June 2013) – Cleaned up the SERPs for traditionally ‘spammy queries’ such as [payday loans], pornography etc.
- Hummingbird (Sept 2013) – This update pays attention to each word in the search query, better matching users intent. i.e. recognising the difference between a user searching for ‘what is SEO’ and ‘SEO jobs’.
- Pigeon (July 2014) – Focus on providing more relevant local search results
- Mobile Friendly (April 2015) – This was aimed at boosting mobile friendly websites on Google mobile search engine results pages (SERP).