Every year, the #1 search engine, Google, updates its algorithm(s) more than 500 times. The vast majority of them are minor and mostly go unnoticed, but sometimes they roll out major updates that significantly affect search results and the businesses that rely on them. There is a whole history of Google algorithm updates wreaking havoc on the search results, and there’s certainly more to come.
Some of the big updates in recent years targeted things such as; link spam, thin/duplicate content, site speed, mobile responsiveness, over-optimization, keyword stuffing, site quality, and excessive advertising on site.
It is vital that your website and SEO work does not trigger any of these penalties! The consequences for doing so can be catastrophic to your business.
Here are some of the more noteworthy updates that greatly impacted search results and changed the entire SEO industry in recent years:
Panda — 2011
This was, and still is, one of the biggest Google updates ever. It was a major algorithm update that hit sites hard, affecting a significant percentage of search results across all industries and locations. Panda cracked down on duplicate content, thin content, content farms, sites with excessive advertising, and a number of other website quality issues. They made it very clear that you should only have high quality, original content on your site – and lots of it!
Penguin — 2012
Undoubtedly one of the most well-known and talked about updates in Google history. This was the roll out of the “over-optimization penalty" and was coined the webspam update. Penalized hundreds of thousands of websites and put countless people out of business overnight. Penguin forever changed the way SEO is done, and made it much more important to get professional help from someone who does not use these outdated techniques.
Hummingbird — 2013
With this update, Google began paying more attention to each word in a search query, ensuring that the entire query (the whole sentence, or conversation, or meaning) is taken into account, rather than just particular words. The goal is that pages matching the full meaning do better, rather than pages matching just a few keywords.
Pigeon — 2014
This time Google shook the world of local SEO with an update that dramatically altered local results. It modified how they handle and interpret location cues to provide more useful, relevant and accurate local search results that are tied more closely to traditional web search ranking signals. Google claimed that this new algorithm created closer ties between the local algorithm and core algorithms to improve their distance and location ranking parameters.
Mobile Friendly Update, aka Mobilegeddon — 2015
A significant new mobile-friendly ranking algorithm that is designed to give a boost to mobile-friendly sites in their mobile search results. Mobile rankings (smartphones, tablets, etc) now differ for mobile-friendly sites giving them an edge over those that are not mobile responsive.
Most of the updates may sound all nice and cute, but trust me they aren’t! That is, unless you are prepared.
SEO is very important in this day and age. In fact, it can literally make or break a business. However, it is also ever-changing. So what works today may not work tomorrow. Therefore, it’s crucial to stay on top of the industry and make sure everything is being done according to current best practices. That’s very difficult for most business owners to do simply because they don’t have enough time to add it into their already busy schedules. Knowing just enough to be dangerous can indeed be very dangerous! So hiring a professional is the best option.
We make sure all of our strategies are in line with the past Google algorithm updates to ensure none of them will affect your site negatively. We also watch trends and continually keep up-to-date with the industry to predict what the next big “shake-up" might be in order to try staying ahead of the curve. Although it’s impossible to know for sure what will happen in the future, we do everything in our power to make sure you will not be affected by major updates.
If your site gets penalized by using low quality or shady tactics then it is EXTREMELY difficult to recover, and often times impossible. This is essentially a death sentence for your website as far as search is concerned. You must be very careful to not do anything to trigger a penalty. That’s why we are adamant about keeping our strategies current and are always evolving.
At BAM, we always say that the words “cheap", “fast", and “SEO" should never be used in the same sentence!
Never use cheap services, or anyone that promises quick results or guarantees #1 rankings. They do not have your best interests in mind and will get you penalized eventually. They will use outdated strategies, spam tactics and automated software, which is never a good thing for your website!
SEO is a long term strategy with lasting results and huge ROI – but only when done properly.