Google algorithms play a major role in providing relevant quality search results for the users. Google has software called Googlebot that goes around the web to scan and collect the information about websites. Based on the data collected by Googlebot crawler, indexing process takes place only for certain pages of a website. When a query is made for a specific keyword by the user, Google algorithms basically goes through all the pages that are indexed for that search and displays only suitable pages in the search results. It is important to remember that if a webpage is not indexed for any reason, then it will not be found in search results. The main intention is to filter spammy websites from search results and provide users with informational sites having good credibility.
In order to improve the quality of search results and provide a better user experience, Google constantly keeps coming up with new updates and refreshes for algorithms. That means the websites need to be continuously in the process of improving their online credentials which are required to be in sync with the algorithms to maintain or improve rankings.
Below we have listed some Google algorithms past and present
Google launched Hummingbird algorithm in August 2013 and later announced an update in September 2013. Unlike other search algorithms, Hummingbird focuses on improving the way search queries are analyzed, which means instead of just matching a particular word, it has artificial intelligence abilities to understand the concepts and consider the meaning of whole sentence or conversation. It is a major update to Google core algorithm with improved search capability since the 2010 “Caffeine Update”. The search algorithm is much smarter than its previous base version, and uses knowledge graph data for search queries. It provides users with better results by matching the context, not just by matching the keywords. Google Hummingbird also includes features for mobile and voice search to facilitate mobile search queries.
To emphasize on quality of the website content, Google introduced a new search filter called Panda in February 2011. Google had rolled out many update versions since its original launch and finally in July 2015 with Panda 4.2 update, it became a part of core ranking algorithm. Panda allows Google to take quality into account, so that sites with poor quality or duplicate content see drop in their rankings in search results. As per the last update, the algorithm demotes or adjusts the rankings accordingly based on the quality of the site as a whole.
Google launched a new local search ranking algorithm update in July 2014 called Google Pigeon. The algorithm uses both web search and map search to provide accurate and relevant results based on local search listings. The algorithm will return better results for local queries as it has increased search result recognition to local directories. With the help of local directory listing keywords and citations, the algorithm provides precise web search results for local key word searches.
To control manipulative and black-hat SEO techniques in link building, Google announced an algorithm known as Google Penguin in April 2012. Websites which were impacted by Penguin issues got penalized and were disqualified for listing in Google search results. However, with the last recent update Penguin 4.0, which was announced in September 2016, Penguin became a part of real-time ranking core algorithm. Being real-time means websites do not have to wait weeks or months to see changes in their organic rankings. Whether it is good or bad, the result will appear immediately. If Google recognizes the website as spammy, then it will identify the site immediately and devalues it by adjusting the rankings to lower level.
Google Mobile-friendly update
To boost the mobile-friendly websites with better results, Google introduced new mobile-friendly ranking algorithm in April 2015. To indicate whether the websites are mobile friendly or not, Google has also started adding a snippet in search results. Websites that have optimized for mobiles, rank better in Google’s mobile search results than those without mobile-friendly design. To evaluate the page rankings, previously Google used to consider desktop version of the websites. But now Google is emphasizing on mobile-first sites where it considers mobile version of the site as primary for search engine rankings, rather than desktop version.
By: Uma Sri