8 Major Types of Google Algorithm Updates, Explained in Details

8 Major Types of Google Algorithm Updates, Explained in Details
June 29, 2020 SEM

Types of Google Algorithm

Google changes its ranking algorithm almost every day. Some of these are small tweaks, while others seriously redefine the SERPs. Keeping up with every Google algorithm update is critical to running a continuously effective SEO strategy and avoiding penalties from search engines. Among all the updates that Google has instituted so far, eight major changes have notably shaken up the SERPs.

Panda (launched February 24, 2011)

In the past, black hat SEO strategies like stuffing a website with keywords were rampant on the web, and it worked. The Panda update changed all that when it started assigning quality scores to web pages. Google now penalises pages with user-generated spam, keyword stuffing, content duplication, and thin or plagiarised content. Panda rollouts now happen more frequently, so it’s critical to run regular site checks to keep your quality score up.

Penguin (launched April 24, 2012)

The Penguin update is part of Google’s core algorithm. It works in real-time and is designed to decrease the rank of sites with manipulative links. The update penalises links with over-optimised anchor texts and irrelevant or spammy links. To avoid penalties, run regular audits with a backlink checker tool and monitor your site’s link profile growth.

Hummingbird (launched August 22, 2013)

Through the Hummingbird Google algorithm change, Google seeks to provide results that match search intent by better interpretation of search queries. Hummingbird makes it possible for pages to rank for queries even without containing the exact keywords thanks to natural language processing.

Pigeon (launched July 24, 2014 in the US; launched December 22, 2014 in Canada, Australia, and the UK)

The Pigeon update paved the way for local results to be influenced by traditional SEO factors. Your website is at risk within the Google ranking algorithm if it has poor off-page and on-page SEO. Instead, build relevance in local search through techniques like getting listed in relevant local business directories.

Mobile (launched April 21, 2015)

When Google’s Mobile update changed the SEO landscape completely, it came to be known as Mobilegeddon. Mobile-optimised pages enjoyed high rankings on mobile search. Pages without a mobile version were seriously down-ranked or filtered out from results. To avoid those consequences, make sure your website is mobile-responsive and focused on usability and speed.

RankBrain (launched October 26, 2015)

RankBrain is a machine-learning system that’s part of the Hummingbird algorithm. It helps Google serve best-matching search results by helping the search engine understand the meaning behind queries.

Possum (launched September 1, 2016)

The Possum update focused on creating a variety of local results depending on the searcher’s location. Local SEO specialists who want to harness Possum should consider doing location-specific rank tracking and expanding their keyword list.

Fred (launched March 8, 2017)

Finally, Fred is the latest SEO update confirmed by Google. It targets and penalises websites that don’t adhere to Google’s webmaster guidelines. To avoid getting down-ranked, remove all ad-centred, affiliate-heavy, or thin content from your website. Focus on providing high-quality content, and make sure there’s a good balance between content and ads on your site.

Google will continue to roll out many other algorithm updates in the future, as it seeks to create a seamless and value-loaded experience for searchers. To make sure your SEO strategy is always in-line with every Google algorithm update, consider working with an SEO agency to avoid penalties and keep climbing on search results rankings.

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