What Are Google Algorithms? Evolution of Google Algorithms

Google AlgorithmsEvolution of Google Algorithms

What Are Google Algorithms?

Google’s algorithms are a complex system used to retrieve data from its search index and instantly deliver the best possible results for a query. The search engine uses a combination of algorithms and numerous ranking signals to deliver web pages ranked by relevance on its search engine results pages (SERPs).

Algorithms are defined as a process or set of rules used in problem-solving operations. Google search engine algorithms are used to determine the quality of the websites, the theme of the websites, and to deliver the related web pages to the search results. There are so many Google algorithms which are updated and changed every year. These updates may not have big enough impacts on search engine result pages but it’s important to know its pros and cons. In a single year, Google have made over 500 updates in these algorithms. We have to update ourselves to notice the changes in these algorithms so that we can find the know-how’s of the impact they have on search engine results pages (SERPs).

Why Google Algorithms IS Needed?

Google’s algorithm does the work for you by searching out Web pages that contain the specific keywords you are searching, then assigning a rank to each page based on several factors, including how many times the keywords appear on the page. Higher ranked pages appear further up in Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs) meaning that the best links relating to your search query are theoretically the first one’s Google lists

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Most Popular Google Algorithms Updates

  • Florida
  • Austin
  • Personalized search
  • Vince
  • Panda
  • Penguin
  • Hummingbird
  • Pigeon
  • Pirate
  • Mobile
  • RankBrain
  • Possum
  • Speed
  • Bert



Hazards: User-generated spam, keyword stuffing, hidden links, and thin content

In November 2003 the first update on Google major algorithm Florida has rolled out. Florida algorithms bring the new era of search engine optimization. Before this update, the websites can be easily ranked number 1 by stuffing few keywords and building out links around the same words. Then after the Florida update, most of the websites disappeared because of the spammy SEO tactics (keyword stuffing, hidden links, and repetitive use of the same anchor text) used by them. This is the first update that made search engine optimization more complicated.



Hazards: Invisible keywords

In January 2004 the second major algorithm update Austin was rolled out. Websites which escaped from the Florida update despite the use of spammy tactics have been wiped out by the Austin algorithm. Several websites were affected by using poor SEO tactics like invisible keywords on their page(e.g. using white text in the white background at the bottom of the websites). Search engines can see certain suggestions like cricket bat many times but users will see only a blank page without those keywords.



In June 2005 Google implemented one of the best algorithms called personalized search. Google has previously introduced personalized search in 2004. Personalized search algorithm impact was not huge at the time of the update. The personalized search algorithm has implemented the tactics to track web history in the browser and give the best search results related to search history. When people visit a particular site many times Google believes that you find that particular page useful.



In February 2009 Google implemented the algorithm called Vince. Vince algorithm strongly favours big brands. Matt Cutts called Vince a “minor change”, but others felt it had profound, long-term implications for small business and the future of search. The Vince update had a noticeable change in brand-level competitive keywords terms to favour the first page for big brand websites.



Hazards: Duplicate, plagiarized, or thin content, user-generated spam, and keyword stuffing

In February 2011 major algorithm update called Panda rolled out. Panda algorithm is also called Farmer. Panda algorithm impact was huge at the time of the update. Panda algorithm has implemented the tactics to crack down the spammy SEO tactics, thin content, content farming, sites with high ad-to-content ratio, and a number of other quality issue sites.



Hazards: Spammy or irrelevant links; links with over-optimized anchor text and keyword stuffing

In April 2012 Google finally rolled out the ”webspam update” which is named as Penguin. Google said that Penguin update would impact 3.1% of English queries. Due to the Penguin update, most of the websites had a huge impact because of unnatural linking, irrelevant linking or keyword stuffing, and links with over-optimized anchor text. This update put an end to the irrelevant link building like buying links from link farms.



Hazards: Keyword stuffing and low-quality content.

In August 2013 Google implemented the core algorithm update named Hummingbird. This algorithm update may have power changes to semantic search. Google said that the new algorithm has affected 90% of searches worldwide. Hummingbird makes it possible for a page to rank for a query even if it doesn’t contain the exact keyword.



In July 2014 Google has rolled out the major update for local search results called Pigeon. This update is aimed to increase the visibility of local listings in a search. The main purpose of pigeon is to provide importance to local search results. This is quite useful for local businesses. This update provides the results based on the user location and the listing available in the local directory.



Hazards: Pirated content and High Volume of copyright infringement reports.

In October 2014 Google rolled out the special algorithms called Pirate. Google’s Pirate Update was designed to prevent sites that have received numerous copyright infringement reports from ranking well in Google search. The majority of sites affected are relatively big and well-known websites that made pirated content (such as movies, music, or books) available to visitors for free, particularly torrent sites.



Hazards: Lack of a mobile version of the Webpage

In April 2015 Google’s first mobile-friendly algorithm update named “Mobilegeddon”. The impact of this update was much smaller than expected. Google’s mobile-friendly update was meant to ensure that it is optimized for mobile-friendly sites which can rank better in search engine ranking pages. This update affected the website with a lack of mobile version and poor mobile usability.



Hazards: Lack of query-specific relevance; shallow content; poor UX.

In October 2015 Google has rolled out the RankBrain algorithm which is a part of Google’s Hummingbird algorithm. It is a machine learning system that helps Google understand the meaning behind queries and serve best-matching search results in response to those queries. Google calls RankBrain the third most important ranking factor. While we don’t know the exact formula behind this major update, that RankBrain is responsible for customizing a user’s Google search results.



In September 2016 Google has rolled out the second major update for local search results called Possum. Possum delivers better results based on the searcher’s location and the business address. In the Possum algorithm, if two similar businesses are located in the same building, they probably won’t show up in the same search.



Hazards: Slow loading mobile pages

In July 2018 Google has rolled out the second major algorithm update for mobile websites named Speed. Google began updating its search algorithm towards mobile experience long before, so Google officially confirmed that starting with speed algorithm updates, page speed became a ranking factor for mobile pages.



Hazards: Poorly written content and lack of context

In October 2019 Google announced the “BERT” update. Google says that this update has the biggest change in Google search in the past 5 years. Bert is a deep learning technique created for natural language technology. Bert can understand the search queries, interpret text, and identify entities and relationships between entities better than all algorithms.


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