Google Updates
Google currently has three major algorithm updates that SEOs should be paying close attention to. Google Panda, Penguin, and Hummingbird were all updated for very specific reasons. In this post, we’ll recap the updates. We’ll also tell you why each one was made and how you can use it to get a higher ranking.


Before we get started, it’s important to know and understand the reasoning behind the updates. Google wants to adopt a more holistic approach to site ranking. The days of rewarding sites that have a large volume of keyword loaded content are long gone. Yes, content is still a part of the algorithm, but so are links and conversational search queries. Quality in all aspects is what’s rewarded. Good websites help users get ranked high. It sounds like-and is-common sense; however, it’s a change of pace that we have to adapt to.


Google Panda

Google Panda deals with content. As was previously alluded to, it was created to weed out sites with large volumes of loaded content that provided little quality information. They no longer want users clicking on sites that can’t connect with and help them. The three aspects of Google Panda that you can use to get a higher ranking deal with word count, user generated content, and search query matching content.

Word count matters much less than before. Again, the new algorithms focus on quality. If a site can get a quality message across in 75 words, it will be ranked high. If it uses 350+ words that are full of fluff and spam, it will be ranked low. It’s that simple. What’s recommended is that you create content that uses enough words to answer the query. Excess words are no longer needed.


User generated content is much more regulated. Spammy guests posts or forums filled with spam will send a site straight to the bottom of the rankings; however, this doesn’t mean you should get rid of user generated content. Quality is what counts and is rewarded.


Search query matching content is important. Your page has to have specific answers to the questions users are asking. The best way to ensure this is to read the query, then inspect your content. If it doesn’t answer the question, simply add content that does. Often times, it need only be a few sentences.


Google Penguin

Google penguin deals with links. It was created to discredit sites that use purchased and low quality links from directories or spam. Like Panda, it wants quality and will punish sites whose links don’t offer it. The best way to ensure sites are optimized for Penguin is to perform a thorough link audit in which low quality or spam links are targeted and then removed. It can be difficult. Largely because links that were rewarded in the past are now being punished. Good news is that most website owners can do this right through Google Webmaster Tools in the “links to your site” section. To make things simple, these are some of your thought processes that should be changing due to the new updates:


  • Domains determine quality
  • High quality sites make for good links
  • Promotional links are fine


If you perform a thorough audit as recommended, you should be fine with penguin. The key is assessing quality, and removing the links that don’t offer it.


Google Hummingbird

Hummingbird was created to help improve search queries. It was the first change to Google’s main algorithm since 2001. It was created largely in part to the new conversational search, and to improve long query searches. It differs from Panda and Penguin it that it doesn’t target spam. It’s like Panda in that it’s rewarding sites that offer high quality, organized content that’s easy to read and answers users’ questions.


In regards to optimizing for Hummingbird, it’s difficult. The only thing you can really due is check your content for readability and make sure that it can answer short and long search queries.


In conclusion, Google’s holistic approach to site ranking should be met with a holistic approach to SEO. This is a good thing. We’re in the business of helping clients create websites that allow them to reach out and help customers. In the end, making money is what’s always important them. It’s never been a secret that quality websites help companies make money. There’s really no new science, or tricks that need to be learned with the new updates. Just a further commitment to provide our clients with a results oriented digital marketing strategy that’s centered around their mission and values.

The word SEO has gained so much importance in the past few years that it has become an essential element in online marketing. SEO or search engine optimization is a strategy that helps get your webpage high rankings by various search engines. As a result your webpage is displayed as one of the top results on any search engine. Of course every search engine has different criteria to measure the quality and authenticity of a web page. However, most SEO firms and marketing companies only focus on Google as this search engine controls 80% of the search engine market and generates nearly 60% of web traffic for top ranked pages.


With the huge amount of market in its hand, Google feels responsible for making sure that all the content that is highly ranked should be of top quality, genuine and beneficial to its users. Until lately, the problem was that Google’s SEO strategy could easily be manipulated. Google would rank pages depending on usage of keywords, link building, anchor text, etc., all which could easily be achieved by SEO firms by building multiple websites with little content and appropriate keywords recommending one particular webpage that would get the highest ranks through Google. It was considered unfair and frankly made it difficult for Google users to get good results.


The New Updates By Google

Since Google was sick of all the unauthorized manipulation of its web results, it released two new updates that have completely turned the tables on SEO firms. Google has launched the Google Penguin and Google Panda Algorithms whose sole purpose are to re-define how web page results are to be judged and ranked on the Google page results.


The Google Penguin


The Google Penguin was released in April 2012 and the purpose of this new algorithm is that it determines how web pages are indexed and whether they are linked to the appropriate keywords that users use in the search engine bar or not.


For example, if you search for a directory online (ABC directory, for example) through Google, you should be able to find the direct link to the directory when you type in the keywords “ABC Directory”. However, before, there were many pages that linked the directory to a directory page but a direct link never appeared on the Google results until the keyword “” was searched. This meant that the domain was indexed but not the directory itself and this was what the Google Penguin pin rectified: sites that weren’t properly indexed and were backed up by lousy link building.


As a result, several web pages were penalized by receiving poor webpage ratings by Google that dropped their link from the first page by Google to the 10th or on a farther page. Some of the web pages were permanently banned from the Google results. The Google Penguin targeted websites that were stuffed with excessive keywords and links and analyzed them for further irregularities. These irregularities were analyzed by the Google Panda update.


To recover your web page from Google Penguin penalty, you would have to fill up a consideration request. However most of the sites could not receive this step successfully as it required you to first bring your site up to code and then required Google Spiders to crawl over the new webpage which could take months. Some of the businesses are waiting for the next Penguin update so that it may automatically revoke the penalty from the webpage.


The Google Panda


The Google Panda was released before Penguin and it did more damage to web page rankings than Penguin. In fact, once both web updates were released, web page owners were baffled by how their web page rankings fell so drastically. They were confused whether it was the Panda or the Penguin that did the damage. Eventually, this became the best time to be in the SEO business. Every web developer and web coder was now busy bringing the web pages up to code so that their clients could once again profit from being on top of the search results.


The Google Panda update was created because Google now demanded proper content. They wanted professional content that could serve the needs of the user. Hence how does the algorithm really determine whether the page has good or poor content and whether it deserved a good rank or not?


There were a number of factors analyzed.


  • First, Google analyzed how much time users were spending on the web page, the exit rate and what specific page had more exit rates than the others.
  • Then it analyzed the number of times people logged on to the same web page with the same IP address i.e. how many times they revisited the web page.
  • Then they analyzed the web content.


The content that Google Panda demanded had to be professional and authentic. This meant no more plagiarism. A popular strategy used prior to Panda update was firms using the same content and building multiple websites with shuffled content, all linking to one specific web page.


Now the Google Panda update sought out these web pages and lowered the ratings. It judges how much in-depth the info available on the page is, how much info is repeated or copied from other sites, how many times were keywords used and how naturally they were linked in the articles. Articles jammed with several keywords were rejected as well. Too much link building was no longer acceptable. Pages with several links for example more than 600, 000 links were carefully observed. Articles with less than 400 words were penalized with lower ratings and hence the recommended word limit went up to 500-800 words.


Such requirements made the webpages fall into lower results and hence caused them to become desperate to abide by the new Google rules. What the SEO firms are now challenged with is building authentic and genuine content for web pages as well as linking pages. There is no more manipulation and even if you try to manipulate, you would do so by posting more authentic information online which once again is beneficial to Google.


Author Bio

If you are looking for web solutions then contact Scott Heron, he has been promoting websites through SEO, PPC and content marketing for a few years now and is always happy to help.