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Here are the most important Google updates - Explained
Google Search Algorithm Updates - Probably the most important news an SEO can get from Google, depending on these updates new SEO strategies are developed and some of the old ones are abandoned. Every search result depends on the algorithm and it is vital for webmasters and SEO to understand these updates as best as possible.
In truth, Google constantly updates the ranking algorithm, but from time to time it releases a major update named after an animal. When this happens, SEO specialists and webmasters go insane and you better start reading what the update is all about and also check your rankings to see if you went up or if Google totally destroyed you rankings, worst still if Google penalized you!
Here are the most important Google updates of the last 6 years:
1. Google Panda Update
When it hit: 24 of February 2011
Important notes: This updated was focused on penalizing in ranks copied content, spam related content, websites that did keyword stuffing and duplicate content.
Later on, in 2016, Panda was fully implemented into Google's algorithm, acting like a quality score, assigned to every page. So in essence, the panda update become a ranking factor.
How to stay safe: Don't plagiarise, stay away from duplicate content by always checking and crawling your website and never stuff your pages with keywords!
2. Google Penguin Update
When it hit: 24 of April 2012
Important notes: Google Penguin hit link and backlinks. If you have a highly optimized keyword based anchor-text backlinks profile Google, in essence, will penalize you.
How to stay safe: Stay away from irrelevant backlinks and highly optimized anchor-texts. I also suggest you often check your backlink profile to spot any irregularities and low quality/spammy backlinks and disavow them from Search Console.
3. Google Hummingbird Update
When it hit: 22 of August 2013
Important notes: Hummingbird hit websites with low-quality content but also websites and content that practice keyword stuffing.
How to stay safe: Focus on overall subjects and niches when it comes to keyword research. Don't stay stuck on the keywords themselves by overusing them in excess. Use a wide range of related keywords as natural as possible.
4. Google Pigeon Update
When it hit: 24 of July 2014
Important notes: Targeted low-quality on/off-page optimizations, especially for the websites that targeted local searches.
How to stay safe: Both of your on-page and off-page optimizations should be top notch without any errors or bad user experience. If you target local keywords, on a regional level, make sure your website is registered into local directories and listing pages for a better off-page SEO score.
5. Google RankBrain Update
When it hit: 26 of October 2015
Important notes: Acts in a similar way with the Hummingbird algorithm update, the only difference is the real-time update and the AI characteristics. Google Rank Brain is capable of learning and changing different factors in the search results. In essence, Google Rank Brain is all about the relevance of the content served to the user with what actual users need.
How to stay safe: Provide genuine helpful content to people. The goal is to actually fix a problem. Google will see that and rank you appropriately.
6. Google Possum Update
When it hit: 1 of September 2016
Important notes: The Google Possum Update is all about local searches and how results should differ depending on the user's location. Highly important Google update, from this point on Google, can serve users different information depending on how close they might be to certain businesses.
How to stay safe: Make sure you include the right local-based keywords in your content A complete local keyword research is necessary. I also suggest implementing location-based structure data so that Google can better grasp your actual location as well as create different feature snippets in search results.
7. Google Fred Update
When it hit: 8 of March 2017
Important notes: Google has a list of webmaster guidelines, Fred targets those websites that don't respect said guidelines.
How to stay safe: Read the Google guidelines from Search Console. Make sure you are in order with everything Google asks. Overall make sure your content is of good quality, especially if you have ads displayed on such content-based pages.