Top Google Algorithm Updates You Should Know – And How They Work

The world is fast evolving, and Google is not left behind. It claims to update its search algorithm several times per year to ensure the most relevant and appropriate results rank the highest.

Although these Google algorithm updates might seem negligible, they play a core role in how search engine optimization works. Hence, getting familiar with the core algorithm updates that have taken place will help you stay in line with SEO best practices and also improve your Google search rankings.

In this article, we will examine some of the top Google algorithm updates you should know. But first, let’s consider what Google Algorithm is and how it works.

What Is Google Algorithm, and Why Are Google Algorithm Updates Important to Your Business?

Google algorithm is a complex system that Google uses to find and rank the most relevant pages for a search query. Simply put, this system retrieves data from pages and ranks them according to relevance and quality.

Implicitly, the first thing Google’s algorithm does is try to understand what you are searching for, so it can help even if you don’t know precisely the right words to use or even if your spellings are incorrect. And if your business owns a website, good knowledge of Google’s algorithm updates will help you increase conversions when it ranks your site higher.

How Does Google Algorithm Work?

Clearly, the Google search algorithm shifts through millions of possible matches in the index and automatically assembles a page that tries to rank the most relevant information for you to choose from.

There are hundreds of factors that go into ranking search results. For instance, the pages containing the word you search for will likely end up at the top. The location of those words in the page title and image also improves the page ranking.

In summary, when you search for something, Google software locates all the potentially relevant results on the way, removes all the spam, and then rates based on factors like keywords, links, and location.

Search Index Updates

Top Google Algorithm Updates

Below are some of the top Google algorithm updates:

Panda Algorithm Update

Panda is a core algorithm update that was invented in February 2011. It was created to reduce the rankings of low-quality websites ( sites containing thin, duplicated, and spam content) and increase the rankings of high-quality websites.

More precisely, Panda update serves as a solution to Google’s Content Farm Problem. Content Farm is a website that hires freelance writers to write poor-quality content as much as possible. Like every other website, its goal is to rank high on search engines. Hence, we can conclude that Panda is a signal Google uses to differentiate between high-quality and low-quality sites.

Key Points About Google Panda

  • It identifies low-quality and plagiarized content from other websites.
  • It removes low-quality pages, which then helps high-quality pages rank better on its search engine.

How To Recover from Panda

If by any means, your site was hit by Panda, Google has provided some information on how to recover from Panda: They include:

  • Publish only quality content.
  • Do not copy or plagiarize other people’s content.

Link Spam Update

Google has a mission of making users access information quickly and safely. Unfortunately, there are quite a lot of spam sites that try to trick users into providing personal information or installing malware.

The link spam update is Google’s effort to fight spam on the internet. In 2020, the Google system found over 40 billion spammy pages every day! Google spam updates saves the day by securing the privacy of searches. To accomplish a spam-free search, Google encrypts every search you make, keeping your search away from third parties.

How To Protect Your Website From Spammers 

  • Check security issues and manual actions using the Google search console.
  • Update your website’s SSL certificate.

Passage Ranking Update 

Thanks to the Google passage ranking update, users who faced difficulties getting specific searches can now get direct answers that fit into the context of their queries.

How exactly? The ranking algorithm update examines long-form content and highlights a particular passage section that answers the user’s question. As a result, it saves users the time and stress of finding the best answers in a long-form blog.

Passage Ranking Strategies

Below are strategies that can help you accurately prepare for algorithm updates:

  • Long-tail Keywords and headers.
  • Creating unique and quality content.
  • Understanding the users.

Google Mobile Updates 

In February 2015, Google announced that mobile responsiveness counts toward ranking web pages. Considering that more people use mobile devices to access the internet; Google’s algorithm considers website compatibility with mobile devices as a core ranking factor. Today, user-friendliness and the speed of your website’s mobile version determine how your website is ranked.

Properties of Google Mobile Updates

  • Mobile friendliness is becoming one of Google’s core ranking factors.
  • Google recognizes if a page is mobile-friendly.
  • Pages can rank well in mobile search even if not optimized for mobile devices.

What To Consider for Mobile Optimization

  • Responsive Design: This allows the content and layout of websites to adapt to mobile devices.
  • Unique Subdomains for mobile devices.
 Mobile-First Optimization

Google Hummingbird Update 

Hummingbird is one of Google’s search algorithms created in August 2013 to replace Caffeine. It tries to understand the meaning of the query and matches it with relevant results. Previously, Google considered the individual keywords in a query and showed results with similar keywords. Hummingbird came to change the narrative of Google search by bringing meaning to the words typed in their queries.

Essentially, the Hummingbird update examines how a language was used in queries and on pages to understand what information people are searching for. Instead of analyzing keywords to give results, Google now analyzes what the keywords mean by including the relationship between words in a query.

Product Reviews Update 

Google said they found out people appreciate product reviews that share in-depth research rather than some thin content that summarizes many products. Hence, they designed an algorithmic update that rewards those who write detailed product reviews.

Since its adoption in April 2021, this google update aims to provide users with content and information that gives insightful analysis and original research. To create a quality product review, below are some of the factors that Google recommends. 

  • Express expert knowledge of the products.
  • Share unique content beyond what the manufacturer provides.
  • Help consumers make wise purchasing decisions.
  • Provide quantitative measurements for performance.

Ascend Your Way to Google’s Top Page

Now that you made it to the end of the article, we guess you have figured out areas where you’ve been getting it wrong. And it’s completely okay if you feel overwhelmed about how exactly to give your website the best SEO touch. That’s why SEO experts exist. They save you the stress of figuring out all the SEO technicalities, in exchange for a suitable reward. Everybody wins!
Ready to keep your website on Google’s search results? At Ascend SEO Marketing, we know the nitty gritty of SEO and can help your website rank high in search results. Contact us today for a free website audit and mini-strategy session!