If you are among those who have noticed their search results have gotten worse lately, it is possible you can blame some of that on a Penguin or a Panda. Those two culprits belong to Google. They are the names given to major changes in Google’s search algorithm. In addition to major updates, Google continually tweaks “signals” in their algorithm, as well as features. For example, there have been four updates in the last two weeks.
Google search algorithm updates affect both website owners and those searching. It is important to never forget that Google is selling relevance. They want to deliver links to the most relevant and current information available. Here is a brief history of major Google search algorithm and feature updates.
Panda (aka Panda/Farmer) came first in late February of 2011. It was a major algorithm update that hit some websites hard, affecting up to 12% of search results (a number that came directly from Google). It seemed to crack down hardest on content farms and links, low quality content, and sites with high ad-to-content ratios. Throughout 2011, there were another 15 or so major Google algorithm updates, ten of which were specifically tied to Panda. In November, Google announced that they applied an algorithm change rewarding freshness that would impact up to 35% of queries (almost 3X the publicly stated impact of the first Panda release).
It is important to note that each of these updates include updates to multiple signals with specific purposes that Google uses in evaluating pages. For reference, on January 5 of this year, Google posted 30 search quality highlights (with codenames!): December Some of those changes affected landing-page quality detection, more relevant site-links, and more rich snippets.
The year 2012 so far has brought us around 30 major algorithm updates. Again, including updates to multiple signals, as stated in this Google post, Search quality highlights: 86 changes for June and July
Google’s Penguin joined his furry friend with this announcement on April 24, 2012 named, Another step to reward high-quality sites. Since then there have been three Penguin updates of significance. The latest of which was October 5.
Oh, Panda has not gone away. So far this year there have been at least a dozen “updates” or “refreshes” (there is a difference, but that is for another time).
So why all of this talk (and there is so much more) about Google’s algorithm. If it changes (Google likes to think they are improvements, not just changes), your website content has to improve as well. Google is selling relevance. The most current content is generally more relevant. It is plain and simple, if the content on your website pages is well-written, relevant, and current, your Search Engine Results Page rankings will reflect that. If it is not, your rankings will reflect that as well.
Talk to your webmaster. Hopefully that’s WebWise Design & Marketing. We can be. Call us today! 800-281-993 or 608-822-3750