Over the last few years there has of course been changes to the way Google rank your website making changes to their search algorithms. As a business owner it is important that you have a basic understanding of some of the main changes and how it is affecting your website and therefore your business.
Panda – Feb 23rd 2011
The Panda update was a major algorithm change which massively affected many sites. According to Google themselves this impacted up to 12% of search results. This update really cracked down on websites with thin content, or high ad-to-content ratios, content farms and plenty of other quality issues.
Due to this update, any websites which were created just for the purpose of having links pointing to other websites were penalised very heavily.
Venice – Feb 27th 2012
For one of Google’s monthly updates, they were frequently mentioning the name ‘Venice’. This was a local update which seemed to further localise organic results and enhance the importance of local search data. This update was created so that it became more difficult for any business to deceive people (and Google) that they are based in a particular area just by using multiple local search phrases and words.
One example of this would be a business which doesn’t necessarily even need a physical location to operate such as a photographer. They may be based in Liverpool but looking to expand their business and reach they might instead target specific keywords such as ‘Manchester Photography’, ‘Photographer in Manchester’ and ‘ Wedding photographer in Manchester’.
Penguin – April 24th 2012
Before this even came into play there was a few weeks of rumours that there would be a new penalty put in place for any over optimisation. Google then released the ‘Penguin’ update created to penalise and reduce web spam. Penguin made changes to numerous spam factors, such as keyword stuffing. This is estimated to have affected an estimated 3.1% of searches in England.
Exact-Match Domain (EMD) Update – Sep 27th 2012
Google announced the EMD update was a change to how Google was handling exact-match domains. This meant that some websites had large-scale devaluation if they had an exact match domain which were very popular at the time.
They were so popular before this update because businesses had realised that domains which matched keyword searches such as ‘www.fitnessinstructorliverpool.com’ they would rank well in the search engine results page (SERP’s) just because of their domain name.
Because of this some business owners created multiple slightly different EMD’s aiming to corner the market. So when this update was released its safe to say that their bubble was burst.
Hummingbird – Aug 20th 2013
‘Hummingbird’ was introduced to make changes to semantic search. The objective of the change was to provide more relevant results focussed on search context, rather than keywords and phrases. Hummingbird led to the content on your website having more chance of being found by others looking for similar content, but using slightly different terms.
Mobile Responsive – Apr 21st 2015
Google’s latest key update has made a massive change with how they rank websites, based on working for mobiles first. Google had previously been proactive in saying how being mobile responsive is important and how it would benefit you, however with this update its very evident just how important its become.
This means you must ensure that your website is mobile friendly or you will be penalised.