We know that Google Updates have a way of shaking up the SEO world right when they launch, but how applicable and impactful are they in the months and years following their release? A closer look at three of the major “animal name” algorithmic shifts reveals the ways in which Google’s priorities can be maintained, adjusted, and applied in new ways over time.
In February 2011, the Panda update hit websites with a heavy hand, ripping through the land of search results with a 12% wake. Google says than updates affecting over 3% of all searches qualify as major, so the immediate impact of Panda is not to be underestimated. Initially, the Panda update was rolled out to combat web spam, thin content, content farms, sites with high ad-to-content ratios, and other quality issues.
Now, fast forward to today. Several of the spammy tactics mentioned above have diminished in prevalence as Google has combatted black-hat methods and made them less effective. Instead of simply fighting spam, Panda now focuses on celebrating content.
Perhaps more than at the time of Panda’s launch, the focus is on the content’s quality and the need to make it relatable, relevant, and real. Keywords matter, but so do all of the other words on a website, and they need to work dynamically with the imagery and overall message to provide actual value to users.
Procession of Penguins.
In April 2012, Google released the Penguin update. Penguin adjusted a number of spam factors, including keyword stuffing, and impacted an estimated 3.1% of English queries. This update is also a strong example of the way Google can be modify, adjust, and add to its updates over time.
One element to be aware of is that, so far, Panda and Penguin are the only penalty-related Google updates. Unlike quality-related updates that actually reward websites with better rankings, Penguin and Panda penalized websites engaging in spammy tactics such as link farming.
As time has gone on, Google has released more iterations of the Penguin update, each with its different impact levels. In May 2013, a Penguin update launched that focused on link diversity and making sure to use varied anchor text. Penguin 2.1 hit in October 2013, targeting websites engaged in spammy link-building. In Oct 2014, Google released a Penguin “Refresh,” in which the algorithm was implemented again before being removed.
A Refresh is a way for Google to reintroduce the algorithm, re-evaluate websites, and then remove it once again. While devalued websites can recover rankings by improving quality, websites that are truly penalized cannot recover unless they have made changes and been reevaluated positively in a Refresh.
A Smidgeon of Pigeon
The Pigeon Update took place in July 2014, and it’s another example of the different forms updates can take in that it wasn’t actually named or hyped up by Google. The main purpose of the more subtle Pigeon update was to emphasize local results and make ties between business profiles and websites.
While this update may have come through without fanfare, it shows that Google can create small shifts that still have major fallout. Google claimed that Pigeon created closer ties between the local algorithm and core algorithm(s), and it has dramatically altered some local results and modified how they handle and interpret location cues.
Though the manner in which Google announces and modifies its updates has varied greatly, one consistency remains: the goal of Google is to provide users exactly what they are looking for. More than ever, Google makes its updates to organize the internet, not only by topic but by relevance for the user. So, whether an update enters with a booming force or tiptoes in the side door, you can be sure that it will prioritize the needs of people searching online. credit-n.ru
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