To know the present updates in SEO and Google algorithm, first of all, we need to catch a glimpse of history. A few major updates of 2017 will give us a clear idea about the coming updates. One of the biggest updates was by Google on 1st January 2018 due to which there was a heavy period of algorithm fluctuations from February 1st to 6th. SEL gave evidence that this update had merely one to two changes. It also came to notice that the black hat SEO community was complaining about the disturbance in the performance of their tactics. Many say that Google implemented this update to discredit spam links or those that had low authority.
Now let’s move towards the latest algorithm updates which you need to know about:
- Google’s Page Speed Update
Google’s page speed update has nothing to do with how Google indexes your desktop or mobile data. The only thing that is affected by it is the ranking of mobile pages in Google mobile search results. You also need to be very clear over here that indexing and ranking are two different terms.
Google recommends you to use the newly updated PageSpeed report and in order to measure the page speed, you can use tools like LightHouse. Till 2010, Google declared page speed as a ranking factor but it was focused more on desktop searches. Now in 2018, it will look at how fast your mobile pages are and use that as a site ranking factor in mobile search.
- Google Panda
This algorithm update was launched on 24th February 2011. It had some problems with it which included plagiarism, user-generated spam, and keyword stuffing. It works by assigning a “quality score” to web pages and further uses this score as a ranking factor. It couldn’t be exactly called Google’s ranking algorithm, it was more like a filter.
As its rollouts have become frequent, therefore penalties and recoveries happen at a greater speed. It is one of the first Google’s updates to actually penalize sites that violate their own guidelines. This change targeted poor quality sites or so-called content farms.
- Google Penguin
It was launched on 24th April 2012. The only agenda of this algorithm is to downrank sites whose links seem manipulative. At the end of 2016 it became a part of Google’s core algorithm and yes, it works in real time. In order to adjust, you should keep an eye on the growth of your link profile, run regular audits with a backlink checkers. In the Summary dashboard of its tools, you can find the progress graph of the growth of your link’s profile.
- Google Pigeon
It was launched on 24th July 2014 in the US and 22nd December 2014 in UK, Australia, and Canada. Its only problem is poor on-page and off-page SEO. It works by affecting those searches in which user’s location carries a great importance and plays an important role.
Now let’s have a look at ways to adjust with this update. What you need to do is that you need to invest an effort into on-page and off-page SEO. It’s better that you start with running on an on-page analysis with Website Auditor and you will have a good idea about the aspects of content analysis dashboard of the tool. A suitable way to start with off-page SEO is being listed in relevant business directories.
- Google Possum
It was launched on 1st September 2016. It had a problem of tense competition in the targeted location. This update works on the criteria that ensures the fact that local results vary more depending on the location of the searcher. It also ended up giving great variety among results which rank for very similar queries. It also provides a boost to business that is located outside the physical city area.
Now in order to adjust what you need to do is, first of all, expand your keyword list secondly, you need to do location-specific rank tracking. Local businesses now should be targeting more keywords than they used to do before, due to the volatility Possum brought into the local SERPs.
- Rank Brain
One of the unique factors of this latest algorithm is that it is powered by artificial intelligence. In can compute more data in a millisecond that a human brain can’t even think of. It helps Google to determine that in which order to rank content and identifies the positions in SERPs. It measures the following two things at its core.
- Click through rate which is defined as the percentage of time taken by a user to click on a result.
- Dwell time which is defined as the amount of time spent by a user on a web page before he goes back to search results.
The influence and movements of the Rank brain are not something that is easily measured. It has its impact on the ability to continuously consume user data and reassess the value of the ordered results by it.
- Mobile first indexing
It is a responsive design which is now mandatory for research. Since Google has pivoted to mobile first indexing, mobile friendliness has become more common. Now the only way to retain your current search presence is optimizing for mobile due to the reason that Google now considers the mobile version of your web pages to be the “true” version, which affects how it indexes and ranks content. Mobile search is also nowadays dominant on total quarry landscape.
These were some of the important SEO and Google algorithm updates that you should be aware of. It will be very helpful for your marketing company or in case you need to make a website design. Google has now come a long way and is still progressing. In the coming year Focus on long-term SEO strategies that will keep you in competition in the year ahead.
Junaid Ali Qureshi
is a digital marketing specialist who has helped several businesses gain traffic, outperform competition and generate profitable leads. His current ventures include Progostech, Magentodevelopers.online.eLabelz, Smart Leads.ae, Progos Tech and eCig.