Google Algorithms Discussed & Explained

Google Algorithms Blog

Searching for any kind of information using the internet is something that many of us take for granted. I don’t think we realise just how reliant we are on using search engines in our daily lives. According to Internet Live Stats, over 40,000 search queries happen every second on average with a further 1.2 Trillion worldwide searches occurring every year.

With so many websites listing information that could potentially be relevant to your search query, it would take an age to filter through pages of results to find what you were looking for. This is where search engine algorithms (Such as Google) step into the equation.

What is an algorithm?

By using complex mathematical formulas, Google algorithms filter your search query by finding websites or pages that contain the keywords used. They are then assigned a ranking position based on multiple factors meaning the best matching results should always be found within the first couple of pages on Google.

How websites are assigned a position for each individual search query depend on many variables which include how many times the keywords appear within the content and how relevant they are to your search query, local searches, social media interaction, amount of advertising or if they meet approved Google guidelines to name just a few.

How can a Google algorithms affect your website?

With so many variables to account for, Google have split the responsibilities up into different departments which are all named after animals. Google Penguin, Google Panda and Google Pigeon all have significant impacts on all our clients’ websites, with updates from each ranging from days to months.

These three algorithms in particular all have a big effect on web performance and optimizing how search engine results are calculated which could be the reason why one day you see your website listed at position #5, then the next it’s dropped onto the second page at position #11 for a certain keyword.

Google Panda

  • Targets low quality content websites
  • Penalizes high advertising websites
  • Boosts social media interaction
  • Encourages news related content

Introduced in February 2011, Google Panda is a Google Algorithm change that targets rank searches with low-quality sites and replaces their position with high quality sites by using influenced filters provided by Google Quality Rater users.

This method looks to penalize websites that provide a high volume of advertising and replace them with those who have a high influence of social media activity, little or no advertising and relevant news relating to the specific search terms. When the change was released, it reportedly affected the overall search rankings by almost 12%

Google have ensured website users that Google Panda affects the ranking of the entire site or a specific section rather than just the individual pages within the website. The last major release occurred on 21st May 2014 with the release of Google Panda 4.0

Google Penguin

  • Punishes Black Hat SEO influenced websites
  • Favours websites that follow White Hat SEO strategies

First released on April 24th, 2012, Google Penguin is a code name for a Google algorithm that mainly focuses on penalizing and decreasing search engine rankings of websites that violate Google’s webmaster guidelines. According to Google, the first release affected approximately 3.1% of search queries in English alone.

SEO techniques that infringe Google guidelines are declared as ‘Black Hat SEO’. These methods are designed to trick and manipulate search engines by using tasks such as ‘Link Building’ and provide no benefits to the user or website experience. Link Building is the most common Black Hat SEO technique which usually comprises of pointing a high number of links to your website that have no relevance and are often paid for. For more information on Black Hat SEO, or to why they are used and penalised, please visit our White, Grey and Black Hat SEO techniques explained blog.

Google Pigeon

  • Improves local listings
  • Favours local directory listings
  • Implements Google Maps search

Unlike previous Google algorithms, the very latest update titled ‘Google Pigeon’ aims to provide users with more useful and relevant results for search queries that contain local results. The recent updates ensure that local searches mirror traditional organic search rankings more closely.

Whilst the core changes have occurred behind the scenes, businesses such as Yelp and other local directories that are listed with Google My Business will see that they are now listed at the top of the search engine. These changes are also visible to view on Google Maps.

If you would like to discuss the various Google algorithms and what impact each of them have on your search engine results, or to talk through SEO strategies our door is always open. Simply call James or JJ on 01565 653 616 or fill out our Contact Form. Don’t forget to share and follow us at @untitledtm for more web performance and SEO industry news in Cheshire.