How Google Algorithms affect SEO

Google algorithm is a term used for complex systems used by Google to deliver best possible results for search queries. It’s often confusing, especially for beginners with so many different algorithms released by Google over the years. In this blog i will give a brief introduction of Google Algorithms and how they affect Search Engine Optimization.

Google uses different algorithms to find websites that deserves a place in search result page for each and every search query. Several factors including keywords, content quality or backlinks play roles in these algorithms to determine the results.

Google has released a huge number of minor and major updates over the years. Some of them haven’t been officially announced, but experienced SEO clearly knew about it based on the variation of search results. In this blog, we are discussing about some of the major updates released by Google.

Panda – The Content Algorithm


Panda algorithm was introduced in 2011 to target websites with poor content and user experience. Websites with variety of content issues including duplicate content, thin content, excessive external links or spamming, keyword stuffing suffered badly once Panda algorithm was rolled out by Google.

To stay safe from the wrath of Panda algorithm is simple:
Create original and useful content for your audience. Use keywords and external links wisely. Understand that, a good content itself is SEO half done. If your website have portions for user generated content like comment section, make sure it doesn’t generate huge spammy content. Content moderation will help in such scenarios.

Penguin – The Backlink Algorithm


Launched in 2012, Penguin algorithm was Google’s weapon against spammy backlink building by website owners to get their websites to the top in search engines. Earlier, webmasters used a lot of unethical methods to generate backlinks as part of their website off page SEO. These include links from low quality, spammy websites, private blog networks or PBNs which are created exclusively for link building, irrelevant websites, paid links and over-optimized anchor texts. With Penguin, Google learned to identify such backlinks and started penalizing websites that violates Google’s policy by obtaining such backlinks.

To prevent Penguin algorithmic penalty, we must stay away from getting such low quality or irrelevant websites. Off page SEO is not about quantity of backlinks, it’s about the quality of backlinks. Try to obtain natural backlinks by providing quality content on your website. Quality content generates quality backlinks.

Hummingbird – The Meaningful Algorithm



Hummingbird algorithm was launched in 2013. It enables google to understand a users intend rather than just the words in the query. It changes how google interprets a search query. This algorithm brings equal importance to related terms and synonyms of the keyword in query in Search Engine Optimisation.

After hummingbird, we should focus more on the concept rather than just keywords to bring the best results. Usage of Latent Semantic Index, LSI (Long Tail) keywords can help in this scenario.
Understanding what people want is the key of success in post hummingbird SEO.

Pigeon – The Local Algorithm

Google Pigeon Algorithm was launched in 2014 to help Google provide relevant and accurate local search results. This algorithm affects searches that has direct influence of location of the user.

Traditional SEO factors play an important role, but various local SEO factors also plays a key role in local search results. Various things including basic SEO like a poorly optimized page can affect local ranking. Other factors include poorly setup Google My business page, inconsistent Name-Address-Phone (NAP) number, lack of local directory citations.

Properly optimized website should be the first thing to be done for local SEO. Business should have a properly setup Google My Business page. There should be proper listings in quality local directories with consistency in Name, Address and Phone Number as in the website.

Mobilegeddon – The Mobile-Friendly Algorithm


Mobilegeddon, a mobile-friendly update was launched by Google in 2015. This update makes sure only mobile-friendly websites show up in searches from mobile devices. This is in addition to the requirement of quality and relevant content for the users. This update affects search results in all languages, all over the world. Another important point is that this update affects pages individually, not the whole website.

Making your website mobile-user-friendly is the first thing you should do to survive this update. Responsive design, better page speed on mobile devices will help in making the website mobile friendly.

More Algorithms

These aren’t all the algorithms created by Google. There are a lot more named and unnamed algorithms used by Google like Pirate, Possum, Fred, Rankbrain and many more. Each of these play different roles on impacting the search results. We will discuss more in detail on these algorithms on a future blog. While it is true that Google made all these algorithms to make sure their search engine results are free of low quality websites, we can also see it as something that will make our websites useful for our audience.

Nikhil is Digital Marketing Analyst at Reach360 Digital. With over 4 years of experience in digital marketing, he loves learning more about various DM strategies. Other than Digital Marketing, he loves travelling and photography.
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