5 Major Algorithm Updates and How they Affect your Website

Search engines have ways of separating the good websites from the bad ones. Google’s search ranking algorithm has gone through many changes over the years. The Panda and Penguin updates, for example, made it less possible for low-quality websites to reach top rankings. Here are five major algorithm updates.

1. Google Pigeon

Google had an algorithm for traditional web search and another one for local search. This divided approach was dealt with by the Pigeon update. The ranking of a website now depends on the business location and the closer it is to the user, the higher it ranks. Google also shortened its 7-pack to a 3-pack which helps users but stimulated more competition between businesses to get into the top three positions.

Optimizing your website for local SEO includes using text, images and content related to your location, creating listings in business directories like Google my Business with your name, address and telephone number, as well as gaining positive reviews from customers. If you want to find out more about these practices, choose one of the best online SEO courses from a list offered by SEO for Growth.

2. Google Mobile-Friendly update (Mobilegeddon)

With this update in 2015, Google introduced a new mobile search ranking factor. The increased number of searches occurring from mobile phones triggered this update. Speed and usability also became more important. Kansas City website design will make sure your website is mobile-friendly.

A website must meet certain requirements to be considered mobile-friendly. For example, a responsive design means that a website can adjust to any screen it is viewed on. Any interactive elements such as buttons, checkboxes and the like must be large enough to press easily with enough room between them so users don’t press the wrong one by mistake. Intrusive elements must be kept to a minimum and popups should be easy to close.

3. Google Hummingbird

Google Hummingbird was introduced in 2013 and was not as much to change website rankings directly but to improve user search by interpreting user intent behind a query. The context surrounding keywords is now just as important as the keywords themselves.

You need to understand what users are looking for when they search online. If the query is in the form of a question, this is obvious. If you can provide answers to questions in your content and give details, contextually related words and synonyms, this will help to improve your search engine rankings.

4. RankBrain

RankBrain is part of the Hummingbird algorithm and is basically a machine learning system that helps Google to understand the meaning behind queries and offer the search results that match best to them. This update is responsible for customizing the search results for users, going beyond the search query and taking into account the larger context, including personal search history.

Try to use relevant terms and concepts such as the ones used by your top-ranking competitors. Introducing these terms into your content could see an increase in your search relevance.

5. Google Bert

In October of 2019, Google introduced an update using natural language processing technology to better understand search queries. BERT is a culmination of the Panda, RankBrain and Hummingbird updates that allow Google to understand far more nuance in queries and search results.

Google is constantly addressing the issues of poorly written content and it is now finally rewarding quality content more than ever. Doing research and including links to top quality sites, avoiding padding with fluff and more can help you to obtain better search results.