A Beginners Guide to Google Updates

Google Search Engine Optimization or SEO for short is the algorithmic method that Google uses to decide which web pages appear at the top of the list when certain keywords are typed into the search bar. If you want your website or blog to get the most views you can get, then optimizing your page to trigger certain SEO keywords is your best bet to get to the top of the list.

The only issue is that from time to time Google comes out with updates to the process of SEO that changes the way it works. It essentially reworks the math and keywords that determine which pages will appear at the top of the list when something is searched. The reason they update it on a fairly regular basis is to prevent spammer pages from reaching the top of the list.

The Panda and Penguin

Once too many people become overly familiarized with the way the SEO is operating, spam pages will start to take advantage of it for the sole purpose of getting their low quality ad ridden pages to appear at the top of the list. This is unpleasant for the user who is searching on Google, and being that they are a business above all else, their customer satisfaction is a priority. It is for this reason that Google frequently updates their SEO to keep the pages at the top that belong there, and the rest far away from public eye. This was the main reasoning behind Google's “Panda” update in 2011. Unfortunately these updates can sometimes impact innocent sites that are following all the rules and doing what they are supposed to be doing. The following year in 2012 Google released the “Penguin” update which was meant to release previously spam websites from the blacklist so that they may again appear in search listings and also released a large amount of sites that were blacklisted on accident. 

Hummingbird Update

Google Humming Bird UpdateAnother notable update that Google has ushered out in the last few years is their “Hummingbird” update. This update actually optimizes search results that go beyond the keywords contained in them. It is aimed at providing better results for spoken sentences or things searched through virtual assistants such as siri. This update allows Google to interpret the user's intended meaning of a sentence by looking at the big picture of what is being asked rather than focusing on the relevance of each individual word. For example: if you speak into your phone and ask “What is the nearest place to get a hamburger?” Google will look at the sentence as a whole rather than the individual words. It will then realize that by “place” you mean
an in person establishment and also use your location (if provided to them in your settings) to provide you with the answer you seek. Previously Google would look at each word and run it through their algorithm and stack up sites that best matched the keywords you typed in. In short this update slightly hinders the power of SEO but at a cost of better user experience for those using Google as their search engine. 

Was Your Website Effected? Here's What To Do

If you or your website are affected by one of Google’s updates, the best course of action is to nitpick your entire website for imperfections. Any small detail that may come off as spammy or any sort of sloppy look or feel may be the reason your site was affected. By paying very close attention to your websites display and content posted you should be able to escape the blacklist if you were placed on it by accident. Also, pay attention to the traffic on your site as you tweak different things. There are no set answers for how to get back up on the list after an SEO update, but you can monitor your website’s traffic as you make small changes and through trial and error you can resolve your issue and get back in the limelight.

If you would like to see whether or not your website has been affected by a Google update, and/or want to see which update caused the change in your traffic you can use a variety of websites to determine if you have been penalized or not. One of the easiest websites to check whether or not your site has been affected is www.jellyfish.net/seo-tools/google-penalty-checker. A quick entrance of your site’s domain and your email address and a full report will be sent to you informing you of all you need to know to get your website back up on the lists and visible to all of the internet.