A quick insight into Google algorithms
When you search for information on the Internet, Google algorithms do the work for you by searching for web pages that contain the keywords you used in your query. Then, they assign a range to each page based on several factors, including how many times (and where) the keywords appear on the page. The pages with a higher score appear higher on the search engine results page of Google (SERP). It means that the results related to your search query are theoretically the first ones listed by Google using the algorithms.
Google has a long list of algorithm updates. But out of all, Panda, Penguin and Hummingbird are the 3 most important and biggest Google algorithm updates that SEO people should know to not only save themselves from the negative effects of these silent judges but use them to their advantage as well.
Unwrapping the role of Google algorithms
Every Google algorithm has a well-defined mission. However, they have a common goal and it is to give the best answer to the user. They determine which page of websites must go up in the search results by following the keywords typed by users. For this, the algorithms are based on more than 200 criteria. Among them, the most important are:
- Relevance and quality of content
- The keywords of the page
- The structure of the page
- Awareness of the site/pages
- The technical performance of the site/pages
Google Panda – The content checker
Essentially, there is no separate Panda algorithm anymore and there won’t be any standalone updates. The algorithm will continue to be tweaked over time but it’ll be part of Google’s ongoing process of refining its core algorithm.
Google says it integrated Panda into its core algorithm because it doesn’t expect to make major changes to it anymore.
“It is less about the functionality, which means it probably doesn’t change that much over time, and it is more about how we perceive it, in the context of the algorithm. Do we still think this is an experimental thing, it is running for a while and we aren’t sure how long it will last? Or is it like PageRank, it is part of it, it will always be there, at least in the foreseeable future and then probably call it in certain context part of the core algorithm.” – Andrey Lipattsev, Google search quality senior strategist
The very first thing to focus your attention on is internally duplicated content. I can recommend carrying out site audits on a regular basis in order to make sure there are no duplication issues found on your site.
External duplication is yet another Panda trigger. So, it’s a good idea to check suspected pages with Copyscape. There are, however, some industries (like online stores with numerous product pages) that simply cannot have 100% unique content. If that’s the case, try to publish more original content and make your product descriptions as outstanding as you can. Another good solution would be letting your customers do the talking by utilizing testimonials, product reviews, comments, etc.
The next thing to do is to look for pages with thin content and fill them with some new, original, and helpful information.
Auditing your site for keyword stuffing is also an obligatory activity to keep Panda off your site. So, go through your keywords in titles, meta description tags, body, and H1 for making sure you’re not overusing keywords in any of these page elements.
Google Penguin – The hunter of links
Initially rolled out in April 2012, the main goal of penguin update is to reduce the link manipulation Google Penguin throws himself headfirst into the icy water of the web to come out reinvigorated and punish sites that use abusive SEO techniques.
Most often, it is the creation of outgoing artificial links. The animal hunts for linking operations (net-linking, exchange links), which are deemed too aggressive. Nothing stops it; it works since 2016 in real time.
How to improve in the eyes of Google Penguin?
The penalties apply on some pages of the site and not on the entire site. So, the pages are are only downgraded but not removed from the index. Here are some rules to avoid the sanctions of the Penguin algorithm.
- Do not put too many keywords within a domain name. Google now favors the name of the brand or company rather than the keywords in the domain name.
- Use the links with varying anchors (an anchor is the text content with a link)
- Avoid buying and selling links to improve your rankings
- Never use poor quality back-links: without common themes, from bad quality sites, links from directories and press releases
- Do not over-optimize or stuff your pages with keywords
- Avoid link exchanges in the footer
Google Hummingbird – The Advent of semantic research
The hummingbird algorithm update was announced in September 2013. Unlike Panda and Penguin, it wasn’t just a new part of the Google algorithm; but was a completely new engine. Its main focus is to better understand the user query by interpreting the user intent behind a query.
Google chose to name this algorithm Hummingbird because the search through this became precise and fast. Thanks to this algorithm, Google can henceforth understand a query or a sentence as a whole and no longer according to one or a few keywords. The proposed results are therefore of much better quality, and the research became more humane.
Unlike two brigands of big brothers (Panda & Penguin), Hummingbird is not intended to penalize web pages or to downgrade the sites of Google’s search index. It allows Google to pass keywords in everyday language.
How to improve in the eyes of Google Hummingbird?