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How Google Algorithm Updates Impact Businesses

It is important to understand how the major Google Algorithm updates could impact websites and search listings to properly optimize for efficiency. The more you know, the better you can target audiences and get new customers. The following guide will explain each of the major Google updates in recent years. After you have an understanding, the SEO experts at SageMarketing can help.


Google Mobile Update


In recent years Google has had many mobile-focused updates, including the July 2018 Mobile Speed Update. Google’s strategy includes focusing on mobile updates, matching search results to websites that are designed for mobile users. With most searches starting with mobile devices, it only makes sense for the Google algorithm to prioritize updates around rewarding websites with mobile-friendly designs and content.


How The Update Impacts You


It is important to have a mobile-friendly website as Google uses bots to crawl a website’s mobile version. If you fail the test, it will impact your overall ranking and could even prevent you from ranking at all. Some of the factors bots focus on include mobile-readable font sizes, page load and image load times, element placement, and clickability.


Google Quality Update


Google’s Quality Update was released in 2015, introducing the importance of quality content. Google algorithms began looking for websites that provided users with relevant and valuable information, weeding out low quality or irrelevant content. Websites that took time to provide useful information have since been rewarded by having a higher ranking than the competition with lower quality content.


How The Update Impacts You


If your website has a bunch of pages with low quality or very little content, Google may not rank your page and/or website. The algorithms now prefer long-form, well-structured content.


Google Pigeon Update


The Google Pigeon update was released in 2014, helping small businesses rank higher in local searches. The algorithm was adjusted to identify certain cues from users, providing local businesses as the top results.


How The Update Impacts You


It is important to consider the ranking factors that trigger localization if your business depends on local Google searches for sales and traffic. All local businesses should optimize for Map Pack, Local Pack, Google My Business, and NAP to be successful. If you’re unsure of any of these, let our Local SEO professionals help.


Google Penguin Update


The Google Penguin update was released in 2012 with a focus on weeding out spam results. To do this, various spam factors were adjusted, and websites that bought or getting links through trading or other unnatural methods were hit hard. Also, many changes were made to the Pigeon update to complement the Penguin release by penalizing websites that used links considered spam. Today, these penalties have been reduced, but the best web agencies know the risk is still there when obtaining links.


How The Update Impacts You


If you are contacted by an SEO company that is trying to sell fast or cheap backlinks, be suspicious. These black hat link methods still have severe penalties by Google’s algorithms that can drastically reduce site ranking or have it removed from the Google index. When hiring an SEO company, you want a local SEO agency that is user-verified with a high rating. At Sage Marketing, we always follow Google guidelines to help you obtain SEO success.


Google Panda Update


The 2011 release of Google Panda caused chaos for websites, and if you have any involvement in SEO or online marketing, it’s likely a term you’ve heard many times. The update introduced ranking factor changes designed for enhancing search results through ranking websites with higher quality content and penalizing or decreasing ranking for low-quality websites. When released, the content quality was a major factor; today, it looks at several major areas along with other Google update releases. There have been 13 updates to the Panda algorithm through the first year or two, fine-tuning results.


How The Update Impacts You


Websites that used keyword stuffing, duplicated content, and tons of advertising all took the hardest hits in the ranking. However, websites that used unique content, organic and natural link building methods, and provided relevant content saw a boost in rankings. Google’s Panda update essentially aimed to reward sites that provide users with valuable content to their searches while penalizing those that try to cheat their way to the top.


Google Hummingbird Update


In 2013, the Google Hummingbird update was released with the goal of leveraging deep learning models that would improve search algorithm precision. Now, Google would begin looking at more than just the keyword used in searches, but at the context. Both entity based signals and content was used for deciding on relevance and quality for the results. Essentially, Google aimed to answer the user’s search query and not simply provide results that may require searching for the answer.


How The Update Impacts You


Unlike in the past, when a single keyword could help you rank, long-tail phrases are more valuable. These are 5+ words in length and allow businesses to answer a specific question or set of questions, such as a FAQ, “How To,” or a “Q&A.” For example, “Where can I Find…” or “How do I…”.

Google has reported updating and releasing new algorithm changes weekly, but these are the major updates over the last decade that had the largest impact. That is why understanding these updates are important to SEO success and online marketing. If you need help, contact our expert SEO team today, we are here to help!

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