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Your Guide To Understanding Google’s Algorithm Updates

It seems like Google won’t ever be able to set the bar high enough. They roll out updates to their algorithm as often as they possibly can in an effort to weed out useless or irrelevant content from the top page of search results. Every algorithm update instituted something new, and they all combined together to create a mega-system that needs to be perfectly fed exactly what it’s hungry for. Are you satisfying every update?

Panda

Panda is an early algorithm that’s still used to pick off weakest links. Panda is specifically looking for lower quality content, keyword stuffing, plagiarized or reposted content, and things that may be considered outright spam. In order to satisfy Panda, you need to ensure that all content on your website is high quality, unique, valuable, and easy to access.

Check to make sure you haven’t duplicated your own content on your website, as Panda won’t know or understand the difference. If you know for sure that you haven’t plagiarized anyone else, make sure that no one else is plagiarizing you. Fortify any weak content and be sure that you aren’t overflowing with keywords that might set off Panda’s alarm.

Penguin

Penguin is coming for your links. This algorithm was designed to eliminate spammy backlink practices and similar shortcuts earlier websites took to overtake their competition. If you have links all over the place, you might want to take a thorough inventory. If they’re coming from shady websites or websites that have little to nothing to do with your website, Google might recognize these links as bad practices.

Keep an eye on your links and where you’re coming from. Be discerning about where you place future links. If you’re finding links in seedy places, this can be a result of someone running a negative SEO campaign against you. They could be attempting to get you in trouble with Google and you need to be able to recognize the problem before it gets out of control.

Pirate

The Pirate update is exactly what it sounds like – a measure to prevent piracy. Websites dealing with multiple copyright complaints or DMCA takedown requests are diminished by Google. They’re problematic for Google to deal with, and they’d rather make you invisible to prevent you from becoming an issue. Thankfully, it’s easy to abide by Pirate’s requests. Just don’t share content illegally.

Hummingbird

Hummingbird puts the emphasis on what people mean, rather than what they say. People might use weaker or disjointed terms in an effort to locate something highly specific, and Google created the algorithm to help these people get straight to the point. People have a tendency to ask Google questions the same way they’d ask a knowledgeable friend, and Google became smart enough to answer them.

Optimizing for a variety of related keywords and making the voice of your content match the voice of your desired audience can help them find that knowledgeable friend in you. Google will be happy to facilitate the meeting if you’re a little more flexible with exact match keywords.

Pigeon

Pigeon isn’t just any pigeon, it’s a courier pigeon. It’s delivering you local results and taking you to nearby businesses. If you have a physical location for your business, failing to optimize for pigeon can hurt you. Your location can be miles closer than your competitors, and if Google doesn’t know that, they’ll send searchers on a road trip.

Make sure your Google My Business page is up to date with your location information. Include your location in multiple key places on your website, and list yourself in as many directories (or review sites) as possible. This will legitimize your presence and reinforce your location.

Mobilegeddon

Did you forget to optimize your website for mobile? Poof! You don’t exist anymore. As smartphone browsing increased, Google took the initiative of burying websites that weren’t mobile friendly. Desktop only sites are difficult to use on a smartphone, and Google didn’t want to send people to sites that would provide a frustrating user experience. If you haven’t yet optimized for mobile, you’re seriously behind the times.

The Implementation Of RankBrain

RankBrain is constantly teaching itself how to learn and summarize websites, assessing their relevancy and directing the right people to the right places. RankBrain wants to see lower bounce rates, better user experience, and more relevant information on a website. Review your metrics, see what you’re lacking, and run a few tests to determine your best possible outcome. When you’re as good as you possibly can be, RankBrain will notice.

Possum

Like Pigeon, Possum focuses on local search results. Unlike Pigeon, Possum is largely affected by the physical world. Possum combines search phrases with physical location to provide comprehensive lists of similar things for searchers, primarily people looking for local businesses of a specific kind.

Possum becomes exceedingly difficult to combat with if you share an address with a business that’s similar in nature. It’s also difficult if you have a competitor that’s just a tiny bit closer to the individual performing the search. Short of packing up and moving shop, you can optimize for a longer and more specific list of local keywords to triumph over Possum.

Fred

Fred is the guy that’s coming for people who don’t listen to Google’s guidelines. More specifically, Fred hates websites that seem to only have ad revenue or affiliate marketing heavy content. It’s designed to prevent people looking for real information from stumbling upon giant revenue machines disguised as helpful resources. All you need to do to avoid the consequences is be honest and avoid anything that may be construed as a deceptive cash-grab.

Keeping Current

If you fear you might be behind in compliance with Google’s numerous specific requests, let us bring you up to date. We’re the SEO experts in Tucson, and we know how to speak Google’s language. We know it’s complicated, but we do it well.