Google algorithm optimizations have influenced, and continue to influence, directly the SEO strategies and techniques that have been tested over the years.
The name was given in honor of Google engineer Viswanath Panda. This update revolutionized the SEO world by implementing a quality filter to distinguish sites that produced relevant content from those that created low-quality “content farms.”
This update was immediate; some sites saw their organic traffic plummet while others saw their traffic increase. Panda also underwent other internal updates, but all of them always focused on the quality of the content.
And while Panda focused on content, Penguin questioned the quality of external links and keyword usage. Before this update, many sites focused on “buying” links to manipulate PageRank, which took into account the number of links pointing to a given domain. Another widely used technique was keyword stuffing or the overuse of keywords. With this update, Google began to punish sites that contained large amounts of low-quality external links and used excessive keywords. This was another factor that penalized thousands of websites around the world. Of course, using quality keywords is critical to any SEO strategy. Penguin tells us that it should be used in a way that is relevant to the user.
This was one of the most significant optimizations in Google’s algorithm. Hummingbird is designed to improve keyword search results, not just the word itself but your search intent. This improvement focuses exclusively on the user and not the keywords. That’s why today, we are so focused on the issue of developing content with the user in mind and not Google. With Hummingbird, long-tail searches have become much more relevant, and sites that use this strategy have been very successful organically, including increasing organic conversions.
The Pigeon update is here to revolutionize local searches. This optimization directly affected searches performed through Google Maps and Google itself, which began to interpret searches conducted by people looking for local businesses. In this way, when a person is geographically close to a specific location, it appears in the first position for these people. This is one of the reasons why Google has been hitting more and more on the issue of optimization for mobile devices since most of these searches are carried out through smartphones. And the trend is that more and more people are connected to mobile devices.
The fact is that every time Google updates its algorithms, there is a big commotion in understanding more about the impacts that this brings to SEO. And whenever this happens, we see many companies running after the loss for having used one or another strategy that is more “obscure” and goes beyond the quality standard established by Google.
We could notice that, over time, all sites that tried to manipulate the algorithms somehow to get more positions were heavily penalized by one or another algorithm update. Many have even been removed from the Google search index.
With each update, tests and more tests are carried out until suitable solutions are found; after all, Google never discloses 100% of the secrets of its algorithms. But we SEO professionals have come to understand with all these changes that, those who focus on being relevant to the user will be more successful in their SEO strategies.
Last but not least, the social factor has gained more and more important in SEO. The good old word-of-mouth has made all the difference in SEO strategies, considering the dissemination of content and its engagement. And at this point, we need to remember how important quality content is, both inside and outside the site. On the contrary, this can even lead to penalties on Google. Remember that saying: a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush? He fits this allusion very well.
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