Google’s Algorithm Updates Explained
Panda, introduced Feb 2011, hits weak and duplicate content and stops them from appearing in Googles top search results. This increased the ranking of news and social networking sites as they are content heavy and regularly updated.
Panda is occasionally updated – in one instance to help small business websites do better within the Google search.
Penguin, introduced April 2012, hitting unnatural links that don’t follow Google’s quality guidelines. Whilst Panda is getting softer over time on it’s work against poor content, Penguin is getting stricter. This shows that Google is gradually lowering its tolerance of webspam. Black hat SEO tactics have been targeted e.g.:
- Keyword stuffing
- Link schemes
- Cloaking, “sneaky” redirects or “doorway” pages
- Purposeful duplicate content
Hummingbird, introduced August 2013, is about Google being able to catch users’ actual search intent and find the content that matches this intent the best. Using semantic search it works out the context of the search query, not just the individual terms.
Hummingbird is more than an update, it’s a new algorithm to ensure that Google understands your entire sentence, not just the words you used.
Pigeon, introduced July 2014, aims to provide more useful, relevant and accurate local search results by connecting web search and map search in a more cohesive way.
While it hits local businesses, Pigeon is also a unique animal because it allows Google to adapt to our behaviors and uses location and distance as key part of search strategy.