Google algorithmic updates and their effects on the market
How successful were you in finding the perfect spot for that Sunday brunch and movie thereafter? What made the search so convenient and effective? That’s right, Google! But what makes them the tech giant that they are? Their continuous evolution brings up relevant results to our queries and the biggest contributor to their evolution is the frequent changes in the way Google works. To put it simply, Google brings about frequent changes in their ranking algorithm based on which results that are most relevant to the keywords users put in to look something up rank the highest. We’ve listed the major changes that have made their impact on industries:
- Mobile friendly update – April 2015 witnessed this rather surprising pre-announcement from Google when they shared their intentions (ahead of time) of rolling out the Mobile friendly update which would decide the rankings of a web-page on Google based on their level of mobile-friendliness. As of yet, its impact has been a lot smaller than what was expected of it.
- Pigeon update – Affecting the US English results in July 2014 and the UK, CA and AU results shortly thereafter in December 2014, Google announced that this update focused on the distance and location ranking parameters.
- Hummingbird update – Released in 2013, this update focuses on making the pages with relevant meaning rank better than those with just the words in it. Say you want to look up the working of a refrigerator for a science project and punch in the following string on Google – “working of a refrigerator”. This update makes sure you do not receive results like “buy a working refrigerator”.
- Payday loan update – This algorithmic change was brought about in June 2013 and targeted sites with heavily spammed queries. June of 2014 saw Payday loan 3.0 which targeted spammy queries whereas in May 2014, Payday loan 2.0 targeted specific websites.
- Penguin update – Sites that ranked because of activities like keyword stuffing, link schemes etc. (widely known as False Positives) were caught by Google in April 2012 because of the Penguin update. After the penalty, those who acted upon it by using Google disavow links tool could regain their rankings whenever Google released their next relevant update, which is what happened in October 2014 when there was a Penguin refresh – i.e. Penguin 3.0 – new sites with spammy links were penalized and those who corrected their links regained lost rankings.
- Freshness update – In November 2011, Google announced that they will be rewarding websites that update their sites with fresh content frequently. It is said that this update had its effect on upto 35% of the queries.
- Panda update – Though this update cannot be categorised to have been existing at a certain point in time, it had started deteriorating the rankings of websites with poor quality content from February 2011 and has continued to do so over the years. The last heard from Google regarding Panda was July 2015 when Panda 4.2 was announced which is said to take months to fully roll out.
For those who look for shortcuts to rank well on Google, all of the above may be a recurring problem but for those of us who want quality results to our queries on our fingertips (literally!), Google has and always will be a boon!