Changes to the ranking algorithm in Google occur quite frequently. Many are miniscule in size, while others are greatly felt by SERPs. The ultimate cheat sheet to these changes will guide you to understand the most significant penalties and updates delivered recently along with SEO information on each. Please read on – the cheat sheet is here.
- Fred – launched March 8, 2017. The Dig: As the latest update, Fred hones in on blogs and sites with poor quality posts focused on creating revenue. How to Fine-Tune: You can assess the Google Search Quality Guidelines and make sure you don’t have thin content. Ads belong on high-quality pages. A page full of affiliate links based on another topic is bad… very bad. Making revenue off of ads on a page happens, but don’t cheat.
- Possum – launched September 1, 2016. The Dig: Searcher’s location was paramount to local results. Also, there was a greater variety in search results ranking for almost identical queries (i.e. nail shop Houston and nail shop Houston, TX). This update also highlighted companies outside of the physical city area. How to Fine-Tune: Specific location rank tracking must be accounted for in your keyword list.
- RankBrain – launched October 26, 2015. The Dig: This was part of Google’s Hummingbird algorithm which helped Google understand queries and deliver best-matching search results. How to Fine-Tune: Augment content for proper application and importance using a good analytical tool to determine relevant terms and concepts.
- Mobile – launched April 21, 2015. The Dig: Most fondly referenced as Mobilegeddon, it ensured pages not optimized for mobile were filtered out from the SERPs or heavily down-ranked. How to Fine-Tune:: Use Google’s mobile-friendly test to review your page’s strength.
- Pigeon – launched July 24, 2014. The Dig: User location is what affects the search. This update meshed the core algorithm with the local algorithm. How to Fine-Tune:: On and off page SEO is important – find quality tools to help you find out what you need to focus on.
- Hummingbird – launched August 22, 2013. The Dig: This updated enabled Google to better interpret queries and provide results that matched a search’s intent. Pages can rank even if exact keywords are not present. How to Fine-Tune: Focusing on concepts and not keywords is important. Research related synonyms and related words.
- Penguin – launched April 24, 2012. The Dig: If you have links that Google deems manipulative, your site will be down-ranked. It is part of the core algorithm and it works in real time. Peek-a-boo, they see you. How to Fine-Tune: Babysit your link profile’s growth and make a routine of audits with a backlink checker.
- Panda – launched on February 24, 2011. The Dig: Panda assigns a quality score to web pages and it is this score that is the ranking factor. These rollouts are routine…brace yourself. How to Fine-Tune: Perform site checks for content duplication using a site crawler. Check for external duplication of content, keyword stuffing and thin content.