Google Algorithm Updates: Know These to Stay Digitally Alive With Your Website

The boss commands an order and you need to accept each and every word since the ‘boss is always right’.

And here in the digital world, ‘Google’ surely stands as an undisputed and uncrowned boss of all. As of this, if you are one of the millions of businesses using the internet to their advantage, beware!

Google keeps rolling out newer updates every now and then (could be twice a month too) and you need to be acquainted with almost all of these in order to rank well on the search engines and generate revenues for your investment.

And yes, admitted that you could get the services of the most proficient SEO companies to get most of the jobs done for you, keeping just a bit of information on these is not a bad idea either.

For instance, you could always consult an expert SEO company in Lucknow to deliver immaculate digital marketing services for your needs, but keeping an eye on the major algorithm updates and penalties would offer you a better digital advantage.

Here, we have brought for you some of the most important updates and penalties that saw themselves incepted in the recent years. With each of these, mentioned is the list of dangers faced, and also the helpful prevention tips for better results:

The Panda Update:

It was launched on 24thFebruary 2011 and it is said to be an evolution of a new generation. Why?

Because this algorithm began assigning a content quality score to the web pages and those sites which contained spammy content, thin or low-quality content were down-ranked by the ‘boss’.

The Panda update was initially a filter before being a major algorithm from Google. However, the January of 2016 saw it incorporated into the ranking algorithm.

The Dangers With Panda:

Panda tends to threaten you if your site has any of the following:

  • Keyword stuffing in the content

  • Duplicate content

  • Very less content

  • Plagiarism

  • User-generated spam

  • Ineffective user experience

Prevention Tips:

  • Ensure No Duplicity Of Content: As a thumb rule, it is required to run regular site audits so that no duplication issues are triggered. Pay attention to the major SEO factors, including no duplicate meta descriptions and duplicate title. If you find them erroneous, change them soon.

  • Avoid Keyword Stuffing: Stuffing extra keywords in your content would not deliver better SEO results. Against this, it could lead to penalties. Therefore, avoid keyword stuffing and place your keywords in necessary places only.

  • Inadequate Content: The pages that have low word counts are often filled with ads and affiliate links etc., and these provide the least desirable matter. Thus, if you detect the content of your site is less, you could always add more to it to avoid troubles.

Apart from these, check for plagiarism issues and fix the troubles well in time to avoid any threats with this update.

Google Algorithm Updates

The Penguin Update:

The world saw it launched on 24thApril 2012, but it has seen a considerable number of updates since then. The main aim of this Penguin update is to recognize the sites that have unnatural link profiles (which are believed to spam the search results with the use of manipulative link tactics) and down-rank all such sites.

The Penguin Update has been a major part of Google’s ranking algorithm and offers real-time operation, where penalties are applied rapidly and you could also recover rapidly from them.

The Dangers With Penguin:

  • Links that emerge out of irrelevant sites

  • Links from spammy sites

  • Paid links

  • Links emerging from sites whose sole purpose is SEO link building

  • Links that have excessively optimized anchor text

Prevention Tips:

  • Keep Track Of Link Profile Growth: A few spammy links (one or two) are considerable but a sudden flurry of these could be a trouble. Search for any unusual point in the link profile and always monitor the fresh links you attain.

  • Get Rid Of Toxic Links: You could use the Google’s Disavow tool for this. By this, you could tell Google to overlook those spammy links when assessing your link.

Apart from these, check for the penalty risks too so that you could ensure no troubles from the Penguin of Google.

The Pirate Update:

This update from Google was launched in August 2012 and was formulated to prevent websites which have countless copyright infringement reports.

Some of the major sites affected by this are generally the bigger and more well-known ones, which tried their hands on the pirated content (could be PDFs, music or movies etc.) and are available to the visitors for free.

The Dangers With Pirate:

  • Pirated content (as the name suggests)

  • Copyright infringement reports in huge amount

Prevention Tips:

Without the permission of the copyright owner, you are not allowed to distribute someone’s content. This is all that is required to stay safe.

The Hummingbird Update:

This tiny birdie update flew on 22nd of August, 2013 and is considered one of the major algorithmic changes. This update is concerned with the interpretation of search queries (longer sometimes, conversational queries) and provides the most appropriate search results which comply with the queries of the searchers.

And though the keywords in a query remain an important element, the hummingbird update adds to the strength of the kind of query made.

This update also optimizes the use of synonyms. As a result, you do not always need to list the results with exactly similar keywords, as Google itself displays more of theme-related results in the Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs).

The Dangers With Hummingbird:

  • Targeting exactly matching keywords

  • Keyword stuffing

Prevention Tips:

  • A Thorough Keyword Research: To stay safe with Hummingbird, you could look to focus on related keyword searches, co-occurring terms and synonyms etc. to expand your aura of search. Instead, if you just rely on some short-tail terms from the Google AdWords, you could experience troubles.

  • Know Your Audience And Its Language: It’s always a wise decision to let your website speak the same language as its audience does. For this, you could make use of social media tools such as Awario and find out the state of your keywords, with its effects on the audience.

  • Exact Match- Not Always: Though it could be critical to include keywords in the title and description, you should sound more like a human rather than being a robot. And for this, there are some specific tools such as SEO Website Auditor etc.

With all these calculated measures, you could always defy the probable threats related to the Hummingbird update.

The Pigeon Update:

This major update from Google was launched on 24thJuly 2014 and was concerned with the location of a searcher. As per the guidelines from Google, Pigeon formulated a closer bond between the core and the local algorithm.

This means that the similar SEO factors would be used to rank the local as well as non-local Google results. And no wonder, the distance, and the location stand as the key factors to influence the ranking results.

The Dangers With Pigeon:

  • Non-optimized or less optimized pages

  • Inconsistency of Name, Address and Phone number (NAP)

  • Negligently set Google My Business page

  • Missing local directory citation

Prevention Tips:

  • Ensure To Optimize Your Pages: With Pigeon to watch you, your local business now needs more investment of efforts on on-page optimization. And no wonder, the role of a proficient SEO agency could be critical in this.

  • Setting Up Google My Business Page: The first step to get included in Google’s local index is the creation of Google My Business page for the local biz. Following this, you could verify the ownership of your listing when Google sends you a letter containing a pin number, which you need to enter, to complete the verification.

  • Ensure Your NAP To Be Consistent: Google would always look to cross-reference your name, phone number, and address. If these are consistent enough, you would escape all the related hurdles.

  • Local Directory Listing: Some of the major local directories such as Yelp and TripAdvisor have ascended the rankings after the update. Make sure you too get featured in these business directories which will probably rank high.

The Pigeon update from Google could be easily defined. Make sure you use correct techniques for this.

Mobile Friendly Update:

The mobile-friendly update was launched on 21st of April, 2015 and this ensures to rank those web pages higher which are optimized for the mobile devices. Not only this, it down-ranks the non-mobile-friendly pages.

However, desktop searches do not get affected by this.

The Dangers Of Mobile Friendly Update:

  • Missing mobile version of a webpage

  • Incomprehensible content

  • Use of plugins

  • Negligent viewport configuration

Prevention Tips:

  • Turn Your Website Mobile-Friendly: This could be done effortlessly with the use of some specific plugins

  • Test Your Website: Not only you need to install some changes but you also require testing it for its mobile-friendliness.

The Possum Updated:

Since its launch on 1stSeptember 2016, the Possum update is known for various kinds of modifications in the local ranking filter of Google. After this update, expect to get returned more diverse outcomes, as per your physical location.

This means that you would see a close-lying local business more prominently in your search results, rather than the further ones.

The Dangers With Possum:

  • When the business address of the competitors lie closer to a searcher’s location

  • A physical address is shared with a similar business

Prevention Tips:

  • Geo-Specific Rank Tracking: It’s high time now to set up your custom location before checking the ranks for your business.

  • Enhance Your Local Keyword List: Possum led to a greater variation in the results for similar-appearing queries. Due to this, it is imperative to track the position distinctly for each and every variation.

Thus, with Possum update, it’s more of a necessity to optimize your listings as per the local searches.

The Fred Update:

As a growing kid, I was fond of Fred Flintstone, which kept me glued in front of my television screen for hours. The same Freddy has now returned in the form of an algorithm update from Google and this update took charge on 8th of March, 2017.

This update is meant to down-rank the sites that have low-quality content or the ones which were created to generate ads and revenues.

The Dangers With Fred:

  • Ad-centered and low-value content

  • Thin content or the one which is affiliate-centered

Prevention Tips:

  • Look For Thin Content: Users would never love to view low-quality content or a page with low word count and lacking useful information. Prevent this to get better results.

  • Review The Guidelines From Google: Of course, you know this very well but most of the people do not adhere to this strictly. You need to review the Google Webmaster guidelines which would help you remain protected from the Fred update.

So here they are- some of the major updates from Google, with the kind of troubles you could face and what all is needed to prevent their ill effects on your business website.

And if you are a business owner who could not afford even a bit of time on this, you could always consult some of the best SEO agencies to assist you. The SEO experts are always aware of all these updates etc. and you could expect an immaculate assistance to get the highest rankings on Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs).


  1. Thanks for finally writing about Google Algorithm Updates:
    Know These to Stay Digitally Alive With Your Website – The App Entrepreneur; I Liked it!


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