The best way to understand what Google algorithms are is to go back in time and look at how search engines work.
First of all, we all agree that the higher your SEO ranking is, the more traffic you will have on your website, right?
Okay, in the past search marketers used to find ways to make Google think that their site was the best. In some cases, all they had to do was use a certain code and they will be ranked at the top.
Since Google updates were not done that regularly, they would remain at the top of the rankings for several weeks until the next update.
Obviously, this didn’t mean that the site at the top was the most resourceful, and this was cheating.
However, over the course of time, the engineers at Google decided that their key focus will be to provide more resourceful and relevant information.
As a result, the Google algorithms were designed to consider hundreds of factors during ranking.
They were also updated more frequently to ensure that all the information that they delivered was more useful and relevant. Major algorithm changes were given names, and below we shall take a look at some of them such as Panda algorithm, Penguin algorithm, and the hummingbird algorithm.
1. The Panda algorithm
This algorithm was first launched on February 23rd, 2011.
At first, it was unnamed, but most people referred to it as the “farmers” upgrade.
This is because it mostly affected content farms. (Content farms are websites which collect information from various sites and compile them on their sites for better rankings in terms of keywords.
However, it was later renamed Panda after one of its developers. Most people thought that this algorithm targeted back links.
However, its main purpose was to give rankings solely based on the quality of the work.
Therefore, high-quality sites were given top rankings while low-quality ones dropped in their rankings. The scary bit of Google Panda is that in most cases it targets the entire site.
This means that if one of your content is of low-quality, then the whole website will be considered as low-quality and get a lower ranking.
However, in some cases, Google Panda can target a specific section like a news blog or just a section of the site.
Other factors that might get you on the wrong side of Google Panda include thin content (in most cases it is considered that having content with very few words might not be very helpful to the visitor, and therefore it is low-quality work.), duplicate content, and low-quality content.
How can you recover from Panda?
If your site has been flagged down due to duplicate content, then you can use canonical tags to improve the quality.
If your site has been hit by Panda, just make the necessary changes, and when Panda is refreshed (every month), you will see the changes in rankings.
However, in some cases, this might take a longer time since Panda has to go through all your pages to detect the changes. Panda experienced a significant upgrade to Panda 4.0, and most sites began to appreciate it more.
2. The Penguin algorithm
The Penguin algorithm was created on 24th April 2012.
Its primary focus was to stop some sites from cheating by creating back links which gave them a significant advantage on SEO rankings.
Therefore, the main focus of the Penguin algorithm is on the links.
Google engineers understand the importance of links, and so do content managers. SEO used to check out for sites where they could get the most links and give them a higher ranking.
As a result, people started using links that are not that useful just to gain a higher ranking. The scary thing about Google Penguin is that it is used to determine the integrity of the links in your website.
Another important factor is the use of anchor text which is also being misused to gain higher rankings and Google Penguin also takes care of that. It also focuses on the entire site such that if a large number of links to your website are not useful, then you will get a lower rank in SEO.
How to recover from Google Penguin
You can recover by identifying the unnatural links which point to your site and get rid of them.
However, it is best to research first on what unnatural links are before taking any action to avoid doing your site more harm than good.
You can also research on how to use the disavow tools on Google because this is also a viable option.
3. The Hummingbird algorithm
Google announced this algorithm on the 26th of September 2013.
However, most people thought it to be the reason for their lower rankings when in fact Penguin was to blame since it had recently done a refresh.
The main focus of Hummingbird is on how useful the information provided is to the user.
It was mostly created for use when users use voice recognition to search. For example, if you are searching for the best place to eat fried chicken, Hummingbird will recognize that you are most likely searching for a restaurant or hotel.
Therefore, it will provide the sites which are more resourceful based on the question.
How to recover from Google Hummingbird
You can recover from this by producing content that answers the users’ questions rather than just writing for keywords and search engines.
All these Google algorithms might seem as strict measures, but the bottom line is that Google only wants to ensure that only the best content is delivered to their users.
Therefore, the only way to ensure that you get a good ranking is to provide information that is very useful and relevant to the users.