Google Algorithm Updates: What Are They?
Would it surprise you to know that in 2011, there were nearly 5 billion Google searches performed each day on average? Google has become so prevalent in our society that the term has morphed from just a brand into a verb. How many times have you heard someone say, "Just Google it?"
It's no secret that Google is by far the most popular world-wide search engine. But what many people don't know is exactly how Google decides which websites to show on their pages, and more importantly, where those websites are placed on their pages. Google uses a specific formula, or algorithm, with hundreds of factors to determine how to rank websites in their index. The entire purpose of this algorithm is to find the best and most relevant results for any particular search query that is entered, which is why billions of people turn to Google each day to find information across the web.
But this algorithm is so complex that only the engineers at Google really know everything that it involves. For years now, internet gurus have been trying to figure out the science of this algorithm and how to improve the visibility of a particular site in the search engine pages. Today, we call this process Search Engine Optimization, or SEO. SEO involves improving keyword relevancy within a site's content, and also increasing that site's popularity and credibility through acquiring links from other relevant websites.
Over the years, though, people have found ways to manipulate Google's algorithm to make irrelevant or spammy websites rank highly in the search engine results. Because of this, Google is constantly changing its algorithm in order to still provide users with the best results for their search queries. Throughout any given year, Google makes hundreds of changes and updates to its algorithm, but some updates have more of an impact than others. In fact, you can see an entire list of major Google algorithm changes since 2000 created by prominent SEO professionals. The ranking of particular sites often fluctuate because of these changes, and some web site owners have even seen their rankings drop dramatically or become nonexistent.
Prior to this month, one of the most major Google updates happened in February 2011, now coined as the "Panda" update. With this update, Google targeted content farms and spam sites heavily, in order to eliminate useless and manipulative sites from their index. Additional versions of this update have taken place since then, but the most recent Google algorithm happened on April 24th. Now being called the "Penguin" update, this change targeted sites that were over-optimized and perhaps used too many keywords on-site or through links.
The good news is not every site is affected by each Google Algorithm change, and it's typically quite unpredictable when it does happen. Just like other marketing strategies, SEO should always be an ongoing process, and this is especially true with the constant evolution of Google. At Epic Marketing, we give our client's SEO campaigns a lot of personal attention. We make sure that first of all, their campaigns are built using Google's best practice standards, and second, if any decrease in rankings occur because of a Google algorithm update, we do everything possible to restore those rankings to where they were originally. When it comes to SEO and Google, nothing is ever completely predictable, but having an experienced SEO professional can help to make sure your site is always getting as much visibility in the search engines as possible.