Google Algorithm Changes

Guy with Big Glasses on typing with Google Algorithm


Google keeps changing their algorithm.... Have you ever wondered why Google Algorithm changes so often?

Let's talk about Google algorithm changes and why they come about.


In the world of SEO, there is not one content marketer or SEO consultant/agency who can predict with certainty what future Google updates will look like. Think about it; even most Google staff do not completely get what is going to change with the Internets largest search engine.

This all can be confusing and problematic for experienced website owners: Google has about 200 site rank factors, now you would need to ask yourself, which one should I focus my attention on with every major algorithm update by Google?

Over time Google had pushed a few major algorithm updates - four to be exact, and are listed in order of when the updates released:

  • Panda
  • Penguin
  • Hummingbird
  • Pigeon

After releasing these updates, the engineers at Google chose to make some subtle algorithm changes that they did not make public. However, these changes may have had an impact on your site ranking during a web searchers results.

Google Algorithm Review

To get your understanding of every single algorithm update and it's impact, you must have a good idea of what a search engine algorithm is about.

How do we define "algorithm" well, the definition is "logic-based, step-by-step procedure for solving a particular problem."  You may be asking how does this relate to a search engine?  Think about it; the problem would be "find the most relevant website for this keyword" Then Google algorithm would find the answer to the problem by finding, ranking, and returning the results that are most relevant.

It's a bit remarkable how Google has become the number one search engine on the internet, and how they made it all happen by their continued focus on bringing the most and best results for every search we make.  I found this statement from Ben Gomes, Googles VP of Engineering which totally defines their way of thinking for search, and he said, "our goal is to get you the exact answer you're searching for faster."  Check out the Google video on how they started their search engine.


From the outset, Google had the bid to improve their own ability to return the correct answers quickly. Google engineers started updating its search algorithm, and in their efforts - it did change the way relevant results were delivered to search users in a dramatic way.

Many websites got penalized with lower rankings and as a consequence of these algorithm changes other sites experienced a dramatic increase in their organic traffic with improved rankings.

Google algorithm changes could be either minor or major. However, most of them are minor updates.  Did you know that in 2014, Google made about 500 changes to their algorithms? Yes, they did, and each of those changes or tweaks caused a huge number of websites to lose their rankings.

Google Panda 2014 Update Penalty Example

Google Panda Update of 2014

Do you remember in February 2004 when Google issued the Brandy update? If not it's ok to learn about it click where it says Brandy update on a website called Sitepoint where they talk about that update in detail.  So, this was a major algorithm update, and Brandy's major points were to focus its attention on Latent Semantic Indexing, which would place more emphasis on anchor texts in links.  Which means Brandy would look at pages on the same website and evaluate if they contain the search terms in addition to the index page.

But later on, Google changed its focus to keyword analysis and intent, instead of looking just at the keyword itself.

Let's take a step a few years back to the year 2000, and let's Dance. Ahh Yes, Google Dance was released when the Google toolbar launched. This was considered to be a significant update that did not have much of an impact to websites search results.

For Google to make the best decisions when returning search results to searchers it needs to have a large volume of data. The more relevant the results are that people get when they are searching for a particular keyword, the more precise the data that Google can retrieve and return to the searcher.

This is the explanation on why all of these changes have made an impact on mobile search results. While mobile growth has been explosive and then add Google's recent changes, it has created some challenges for search markets.

Just keep in mind, when managing your website content, keep Google algorithm changes at the forefront. Keep your content fresh, relevant, and provide quality and useful information on your site. You'll make it through most of Googles algorithm updates.

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