19 Nov Google Algorithm Updates – What do they do?
Periodically Google comes out with a new update. But what do they do? SEO Powersuit explains…………
Source – Search Engine Land
8 Google algorithm updates explained
“Of countless Google algorithm updates introduced over the last decade, here are the ones that changed SEO forever.
Google claims to update its search algorithm several thousand times per year. In the absolute majority of cases, Google algorithm updates are too small to notice. But, every once in a while, Google introduces a change so fundamental, that it disrupts the way we do SEO forever.
In this post, we will be counting down eight of the most critical search algorithm changes. We will look into why these updates were introduced, how they work and what adjustments we had to make to our SEO strategies in response.
Date: February 24, 2011
The Panda algorithm update assigns a so-called “quality score” to web pages. This score is then used as a ranking factor. Initially, the effects of Panda were mild, but in January 2016 it was permanently incorporated into Google’s core algorithm. Since then, update rollouts have become more frequent, so both Panda penalties and recoveries now happen faster.
Date: April 24, 2012
Google Penguin’s objective is to down-rank sites whose backlinks look unnatural. This update put an end to low-effort link building, like buying links from link farms and PBNs.
Date: August 22, 2013
The Hummingbird algorithm helps Google better interpret search queries and provide results that match searcher intent (as opposed to the individual terms within the query). While keywords continue to be important, the Hummingbird algorithm makes it possible for a page to rank for a query even if it doesn’t contain the exact words the searcher entered. This is achieved with the help of natural language processing that relies on latent semantic indexing, co-occurring terms and synonyms.
Date: April 21, 2015
This, and subsequent mobile search updates (2018, 2020) have shifted the focus from a desktop to a mobile version of your website. Today, Google ranks all websites based on how fast and user-friendly their mobile versions are.
Date: October 26, 2015
RankBrain is a part of Google’s Hummingbird algorithm. It is a machine learning system that helps Google understand the meaning behind queries and serve best-matching search results in response to those queries. Google calls RankBrain the third most important ranking factor.
While we don’t know the exact formula behind this major update, the consensus is that RankBrain is responsible for customizing a user’s Google search results. Basically, Google goes beyond a person’s search query and takes into account the larger context, like synonyms, implied words, and personal search history.
Date: May 4, 2018
The Google Medic update seemed to disproportionately affect medical websites as well as other websites that have to do with potentially life-altering decisions (finance, law, education). Although not explicitly confirmed, Google representatives have hinted that the update implemented some of the E-A-T (expertise, authority, trust) signals from the Quality Rater Guidelines document.
Date: October 22, 2019
This Google algorithm update uses natural language processing technology to better understand search queries, interpret text, identify entities and relationships between entities. We’ve seen Panda, Hummingbird and RankBrain updates move away from keywords, and the BERT update is the culmination of this effort — it allows Google to understand much more nuance in both queries and search results.
8. Core Updates
As far back as 2017, Google has started to refer to bigger updates as Google core updates. Since then, there is even less transparency about what those updates are and which parts of search they are intended to improve. SEOs would often track post-update ranking shifts and try to figure out what exactly has changed, but there is rarely a conclusive observation. It is likely that Google core updates are just improvements on previous Google updates or perhaps bundles of smaller updates tied together.”
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