Google is constantly updating its algorithms to provide more valuable content to search users. SEO professionals need to stay keep their methods aligned with these standards.
Let’s look at five changes everyone should know.
Panda is the scourge of the Web, the most common Google update that penalizes search engine rankings. Although Panda once referred to a set of criteria that de-ranked sites with poor content, it now describes a general rule-set for “good” content.
- Ensure content is deep, detailed, and long, providing a full answer to search queries.
- Format content well, with appropriate graphics, typography, and even color scheme.
- Avoid duplicate content, rewritten content, and anything that may harm Web users.
Penguin analyzes sites’ link profile, the collection of backlinks pointing to a site from elsewhere on the Web. While links remain the top off-page factor in SEO success, link quality means more than quantity in overall results.
- Prioritize backlinks from authoritative sites that serve users within the same niche.
- Emphasize contextual links in related content rather than blog rolls or link pages.
- Do not buy, sell, or trade links, and actively disavow links from untrusted sites.
Pigeon was intended to bridge the gap between local and non-local site ranking methodology. It focused attention on the distance between a business and the user, particularly mobile users, adding weight to nearby results.
- Ensure your business profile is filled out on Google My Business.
- Provide your complete local business address in your site footer.
- Optimize for mobile and target keywords that use your location.
Hummingbird was the first wave in “semantic search,” the idea Google could interpret the intent behind queries rather than relying solely on keywords. While this leads to some baffling results, in theory it makes each webpage’s context more important.
- Use a wide range of relevant jargon and terminology, not just a single keyword.
- Build content structured around delivering a deep answer to a single question.
- Ensure content is cross-linked to other relevant pages throughout your site.
Mobile-Friendly was the vanguard of a new era. It paved the way for “mobile-first indexing,” ensuring each site’s mobile-optimized version is prioritized in all calculations related to site rank.
- Use a responsive site layout that adapts automatically to mobile device displays.
- Implement asynchronous loading to accelerate load times on limited bandwidth.
- Ensure your site uses SSL for the most secure experience possible over mobile.
Google continues to evolve virtually every day, but understanding these five algorithm changes will get you off to a strong start. Keep your eye on the latest SEO news and always be ready to adapt your methods!