The search engine giant Google has, over the years, tried to enhance the quality of its search results. Through regular algorithm updates, they have managed to return sanity in SERPs and save them from tricks some in internet marketing have adopted. Today, it is not just about the number of inbound and outbound links that matter, but their quality and relevance. Content has to be the best and unique, which means that the days of content spinning are long gone. Keyword stuffing in content is a crime and a risk that no website owner should dare commit. While some websites suffer, those that adhere to ethical practices sail through the rankings. Some of the latest Google algorithm updates that have immensely affected SEO are as follows:

The Google Panda 4.2 Update

This update was released on 17th July, 2015 and is essentially an update of the Google Panda algorithm. Originally created to ensure that search engine results are of impeccable quality, this update is simply meant to stop even more websites that have substandard content from making it to Google search results. It ensures that sites that meet correct content requirements are favored in search results as the alternatives are weeded out. To survive this update, websites must improve their content, and optimise it well for the Google search engines. Content is king, and must be unique, flawless and informative. Quality content encourages social sharing, which is good for SEO.

The Google Pigeon Update

This algorithm was originally designed and released to favour websites with more local relevance in search results, depending of course on your location. This means that this update provides search results that are more useful to web users, because they are more closely related to traditional ranking signals. The Pigeon update was rolled out in English speaking countries such as the United Kingdom, USA, Canada and Australia and is currently being extended to even more countries. Local search engines optimization is actually the future of SEO and website owners must work towards optimising their sites to local searches.

The Google Mobile Update

After noting that more people are using their mobile devices to do just about anything on the internet, Google released the Mobile Friendly Ranking Update to enable users of mobile devices to access quality search results. Search engine optimisation shouldn’t be limited to PCs because mobile phone usage to access the internet might soon surpass the PC. This update requires that websites make their content “mobile friendly”, to make changes to their pages so that they are available on mobile devices as well and not on desktops alone. They further provided the Mobile Friendly Test Tool for better quality search results on mobile devices across the world. Websites that are not optimised for use on mobile devices lose out on a large number of users, these users are actively using their mobile devices to access the internet.

The Google Penguin

The Penguin algorithm is one of the first serious updates from Google released to eliminate websites spamming their search results. Spamming can be done by the purchase of links or obtaining links in any other manner in order to boost the website ranking on Google. The update monitors the internet for websites with such links and bars them from being ranked in search results. The Penguin Algorithm has been updated several times to improve its efficiency. Websites therefore need to remove the bad links and replace them with better and relevant ones. Some people argue that reverse SEO can help, but it is very difficult to reverse a site that has been hit by a penguin. Today, the number of links doesn’t matter, it is the quality and relevance that counts.

[…continued next week]