The Internet is always growing and evolving sphere. Every day people upload tons of different quality information into search engines. To understand which content can be beneficial for users and distinguish it from spam, big search engines like Google need to improve and update their algorithms regularly. By doing so, they give an opportunity for both website owners and average users to benefit from quality data. Moreover, regular algorithm updates enable search engines to penalize spammers and black-hat SEO specialists. So, to stay on the TOP of SEO game, you need to be aware of all novelties in the web search engine optimization industry and make appropriate improvements to your site. In this article, we will discuss three defining moments that changed the nature of SEO and make SEO experts change their methods of website optimization.
Drastic changes in the web search engine optimization
It is worth to say that during the last decade Google algorithm updates have drastically changed the rules of search engine optimization. While some online merchants fell the drop in their rankings after Google updates, other far-sighted website owners took this opportunity to improve their positions on SERP. Today we will talk about three most powerful algorithm updates that changed today's SEO.
The first Google Florida Update
The first one Google update occurred in November 2003. It is known as Google Florida update. This update was the biggest change in Google rankings in those times. The primary purpose of Florida update was to hit black-hat SEO specialists who were trying to manipulate rankings. It was designed to avoid such black-hat SEO technique as keyword stuffing. The term of ‘keyword stuffing’ has appeared since the early days of search engine optimization development. It is a shady technique that enables webmasters to manipulate search rankings. It is a process of inserting particular keywords or set of key phrases into content. As a rule these search terms had no relevance to the content and designed specifically for search bots, but not to average users. These phrases can be repeated through the text so often that it sounds unnatural. So, to improve user experience with search engine system, Google decided to penalize websites where keywords stuffing is observed. After this innovation, a lot of sites lost traffic and suffered greatly. It took a lot of time and efforts for website owners to restore their web sources reputation. However, it was a good lesson for those who are trying to violate standard ranking guidelines.
Google Panda update
The second by its size and impact on the digital world was Google Panda update. It was introduced in February 2011. The primary purpose of this filter was to avoid websites with poor quality content from working their way into Google’s TOP search results. By doing so, Google would like to return high-quality and relevant sites near the TOP of the SERP and improve user’s experience during the search. This update was rocked up to 12% of search results. The biggest Internet platforms with a constant traffic flow lost more than 50% of their visitors due to their SERP positions fall. This Google update hurt only those websites that have lower quality content. For other domains, the situation was not changed dramatically. Google made it clear that higher quality and maximally relevant content will be rewarded with more top rankings, while lower-quality unreadable texts will be penalized. Panda mainly focused on sites with thin content. This filter was a good way for Google to target content farms precisely as it was becoming a big affair in the search results with its low-quality non-unique content that tended to rank due to sheer volume. The major violators of the rules have not recovered from this Google filter to this date. Nowadays, Google evolves Panda as a part of the core ranking algorithm. It serves as a part of a slow rolling update, lasting month per cycle. As a result, it became difficult to know whether a site is suffering from Panda update or not.
Google Penguin update
The Google Penguin algorithm launched in April 2012. It is a webspam algorithm which designed to penalize those who do not follow Google’s guidelines. When this algorithm was entered into force, Google has issued the following statement:
“…this algorithm represents another improvement in our efforts to reduce webspam and promote high-quality content. While we can’t divulge specific signals because we don’t want to give people a way to game our search results and worsen the experience for users, our advice for Webmasters is to focus on creating high-quality sites that create a good user experience and employ white hat SEO methods (GOOGLE).”
It targeted websites that use fraudulent link schemes to rank high on Google. Those online merchants and webmasters who obtained a link juice to their sites using black-hat SEO techniques such as link purchase or link farming were banned. When a Google Penguin update was released, sites that have taken actions to remove non-quality backlinks may regain rankings. From its part, Google gives an opportunity to remove bad links quickly and free. Everything you need is to implement Google disavow links tool. Those who were hit by Google Penguin update had to wait until this algorithm ran again to get their ranking positions back.
This algorithm still affects website rankings as quality and relevant links are an important part of the Google ranking system. That is why it may cost you site reputation to implement black-hat web SEO technique or hire unprofessional SEO team. Currently, Penguin update went mostly after abusing links and affected 3,1% of the queries.