Since Google began, there have been many updates every year. We decided to take a look at the algorithms in place and what they mean to marketers. So far in 2016, we have had five updates, the most recent being Penguin. There are hundreds of updates made every year, most of which are minor.
The Big Players
Panda was introduced in 2011, which is designed to encourage sites to have their content as high quality as possible. This algorithm ensures that you cannot reach a high ranking on Google with poor quality content on your site. As of this year, Panda is now a part of Google’s core ranking algorithm, and this most recent update was named Panda 4.2.
In 2012, Penguin was launched with the intention of catching those sites who are spamming SERPs and buying links or obtaining them in non-organic ways. If your site is under a Penguin penalty, you may use the Google Disavow Links tool to tell Google that you do not want your site to be associated with links from certain sites.
Google introduced Hummingbird in August 2013. This is used as Google’s way of coming back with answers when asked questions. Hummingbird enables Google to answer questions as though it were being asked (rather than just bringing out the results from the keywords it will find in the search term).
Mobilegeddon was a massive update in 2015 meaning Google was allowing for more mobile friendly sites to rank higher than those who are not mobile friendly. As we are now always using our mobiles to surf the web and find information this update was one of the biggest breakthroughs by encouraging sites to make a mobile friendly version of their site so people can use a site across all devices. You can test if a site works on mobile with Google’s mobile friendly test, which also tells you what any issues are and how to fix them.
Finally in October 2015 RankBrain was introduced an Artificial Intelligence machine that learns as it goes, the more Google is used the more RankBrain will understand different terminology and languages allowing it to interpret queries as quickly, efficiently and accurately as possible.
There have even been a few updates so far this year, including: two unnamed updates, AdWords Shake Up, and Mobile Friendly 2. The first unnamed update was a core algorithm update in January, all we knew for sure was that it was not a part of Penguin. This was later confirmed by Google in May this year.
The AdWords shake up was a big deal in the marketing world as it meant Google were removing the right side ads entirely, which had huge CTR changes on both paid and organic results. The second unnamed update of the year was a major update in May which still has not been confirmed by Google.
Lastly, the Mobile Friendly 2 update was intended to implement sites having mobile friendly pages. Due to the Mobilegeddon update, the consequences of this update were very small, as most sites had already optimised when Mobilegeddon was introduced.
Penguin was recently announced as being a part of Google’s core algorithm in September 2016, which you can read about here.