You may already know that Google makes somewhere around 200-300 algorithm changes per year, and that you only hear about 3-5 of them or so.
Within the last year, Google’s algorithm updates have once again transformed the SEO industry markedly. However, they’ve been doing exactly what they said they were going to do all along – clean up the search results, getting companies and websites with high quality content and who offer a great user experience at the top of the search rankings.
No, Google is still far from perfect, but it’s getting one step better each day. With that in mind, check out some of these recent algorithm updates:
- 1/24/14 – Guest Blogging – Okay, so this one isn’t officially an update, but Matt Cutts publicly said Google wants to clean up guest blogging. Because many other link building tactics were attacked by Google, SEOs and individuals started moving to guest blogging to get links. Nothing wrong with that, but a certain percentage have used spammy tactics – like posting very generic, thin content just to get a link (Google has said publicly not to do this). Guest blogging is still okay – you just have to do it with the intent of contributing value to the web.
- 12/17/13 – Unnamed Update – Everyone who tracks SEO registered “historically high” activity, according to SEOMoz. No one, however, could detect a clear pattern as to what the changes actually were looking for, but it was clear something happened. Google, however, would not acknowledge any update.
- 11/14/13 – Another Unnamed Update – People who watch Google again noticed very high activity, and Google would not confirm the presence of an update. It was again not clear what issues the update addressed.
- 08/20/13 – Hummingbird – This was a huge update…it greatly enhanced Google’s ability to understand the meaning behind the search terms users enter. It also improved Knowledge Graph, a database of common facts people search for which Google uses to return faster results.
- 08/06/13 – In-Depth Articles – Just like its name sounds, this update targeted pushing longer-form content timeless in nature (it’s always more or less true) up the search engine rankings.
Given This Information, Should You Be Afraid?
Did you notice two of those updates weren’t even named or acknowledged by Google, but at the same time were widely observed and greatly impacted the search results?
That’s the nature of the search game – you’re always shooting for a changing target that you don’t even know the location of.
However, no matter what the changes Google decides to make, if you regularly create content, use a diversity of white-hat link building methods that involve manually reaching out to quality websites, and you provide the best possible user experience on your website, you’ll be okay regardless of the changes Google makes.
Google just wants quality websites that offer value at the top of its rankings, so work on making yours the best it can be.