The algorithms of search engines like Google & Co. (2/2)
An overview of important Google updates
After the mobile update at the end of April, Google carried out its Phantom Update in May 2015. Many domains worldwide noticed that changes had been made to the algorithms; they suffered losses, and Google did not divulge any details. They only disclosed that the update was not connected to the mobile update. Small and medium sized pages were affected – usually editorial pages or advice pages. They had to tolerate a safety loss between 20 and 40 percent whereas brand pages as well as consulting or category references achieved an increase of up to 30 percent. The reason why some domains gained and others lost is open to speculation: insiders suspect that Google rewards pages that offer real added value and unique content.
In 2014, Google began reworking the Panda algorithm. The purpose remained the same, pages without content were not supposed to appear in the front section of the search results. However, the technology needed to recognize these pages continued to be developed. The Panda Updates 4.0 algorithm filter introduced at the middle of the year, can better distinguish “good” pages from “bad” pages and is more solicitous towards the domains affected. At the end of year, webspam will be run down again with the Update Penguin 3.0. Google did not disclose any information regarding the innovations. The press was only informed that the data would be improved on a monthly basis.
Google has set a further milestone with the Hummingbird Update: The algorithm of the search will be entirely renewed; earlier updates only involved changes to the ranking algorithms. Google hopes that this change will help classify search requests so that users will obtain more appropriate results than before. With this update, which was put into effect in August 2013, more emphasis was given to keywords and long-tail search requests.
The Webspam Update, better known as “Penguin” will prevent webspam from appearing in the first search request results. Page operators try to use techniques such as cloaking, keyword stuffing or link schemes to ensure that the page appears in top positions. However, this is forbidden according to Google guidelines, because the user does not receive added value from this type of page. The Penguin Update had the desired effect when it was introduced worldwide in April 2012 and in every language.
2011 was marked by the Panda Updates. This algorithm change involved a filter that places low-quality pages with little or no content, or pages that are spiked with advertising, at the rear in search engine ranking. Other negative factors are pages with low dwell time, as well as pages that have no or only a few quality backlinks, or pages in which the search request does not match the title or content of the page. The changes were effective for requests in English in the United States in February; Google followed worldwide in April. Other languages were added in August; Korean, Japanese and Chinese were left out.