If you are involved in the field of search engine optimization, you must be aware of the constant Google algorithmic updates. Google engineers have been on record saying that more than 500 minor changes are made to algorithms each year.
In other words, Google’s search engine ranking algorithm is always changing based on the data they collect and user behavior. However, certain major Google updates have made a lot of news over the past few years. Here is a quick rundown of some of the major Google updates in the last few years.
2011 Google Panda
One of the most popular Google updates in the current decade must be the Panda update of 2011. This update was first launched in 2011 but Google has been constantly updating it.
It was confirmed a few years earlier that this algorithm is now part of the core ranking algorithm which means the Panda update runs constantly and the updates are not pushed into the search results every few months which was the case earlier.
Google has reiterated that this algorithm was designed to weed out the spam from the search results. This algorithm penalized websites with thin and duplicate content, and also webpages that had too many ads.
Simply put, enhancing user experience was the major goal of this update. This was also the time when many article directories were pushed out of business especially those directories that consistently published only thin and low quality content.
2012 Google Penguin
Another major update in the current decade has been the Penguin update which was first launched in 2012. As per Google engineers, this algorithmic update was targeted at low quality backlinks. However, Google hasn’t been able to completely get rid of spam link profiles as even these days, quite a few websites can gain temporary rankings with the help of low quality backlinks that have been artificially created.
However, Google must be applauded for its efforts as these days, high quality and organic links play a much more important role in rankings as compared to earlier years.
2013 Google Hummingbird
One other update that has generated a lot of buzz over the years is the Hummingbird update which was first launched in 2013. It was Google’s attempt to become better at interpreting the semantic search.
In short, this algorithm was designed to make Google better at understanding the context and intent of the search query. However, this update is also widely regarded as the one that made long tail keywords popular among marketers.
Mobile First Index
Some other popular updates made by Google over the years include the mobile update where Google has now started considering the mobile version of a website as the primary version for its index.
Google has always been at the forefront of technology changes and this update was in line with changing user behavior. These days, more people use their smartphones to go online as compared to desktop computers or other devices.
A website that isn’t designed to provide same user experience to visitors as the desktop users, is not good for Google. This hurts the user experience of Google’s users and Google has now pushed such websites back in the search engine result pages.
Simply put, a website needs to provide great user experience when visited on mobile or other small screen devices, and if it fails to do that, it will lose rankings.
2018 Medic Update
Another update that has made a lot of noise is the Medic update of 2018. This particular update was focused on certain sectors such as health and finance. While Google did not provide any clarity on the purpose of this update, it is widely speculated that this update was focused on providing high-quality results to users on issues related to health and finance.
Overall, Google has been constantly updating its core search engine algorithms with major and minor updates, and it’s not going to stop ever.
Google is the best search engine for a reason and they will continue to take action to remain ahead of the spammers and to provide high-quality results to their users.
If you are a marketer or connected to SEO in any way, it’s better to focus on providing high-quality content to your users in order to remain in the good books of Google.