Essential Google algorithm updates for SEO Marketing

Updated on: 26 October 2018

Search Engine Optimisation or SEO for short is a Digital Marketing strategy that involves driving quality traffic to a specific website through free and organic search engine results. Quality traffic refers to authentic visitors who visit your website specifically because of the products you have, while organic results refer to free unpaid traffic.

As the premier search engine and the leading authority in SEO, Google has rolled out major algorithm updates over the years which have affected SEO rankings for websites in both subtle and major ways. In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the most significant algorithm updates that have affected SEO both globally and in Singapore.

Google Panda update

Released in February 2011, Google Panda is designed to evaluate sites based on the quality of their on-site content. In general, web pages that possessed high-quality content are placed in higher-ranking positions, while low-quality sites are positioned low.

Factors that triggered Google Panda:

  • Low-Quality content – badly formatted text, grammatical errors, and a site design that affected a visitor’s experience negatively.
  • Ambiguous or Thin content – this refers to a website content with too few words or has content that does not fulfil a search query.
  • Untrustworthy content – a website with content that is essentially misinformation and potentially hazardous.
  • Article Spinning – a website with duplicated content rewritten from another website. Non-original content reduces the content’s quality too.
  • Duplicated Texts – directly copied chunks of matching texts from other websites. Reusing small quantities of texts as quoted text in the right context is acceptable, though.

Google Pigeon update

Google’s ranking factors used to operate on separate search algorithms; one for global web search and the other for local web search. This divided method did not return favourable search results; therefore, Google Pigeon was created to bridge the gap and combine both into one algorithm for SEO.

As a result, Google Pigeon operates by determining a website’s ranking by its business location and its distance from the inquirer. The closer a particular business is to the user, the higher its ranking is shown.

Some SEO methods that are used to strengthen the ranking positions post-Pigeon:

  • Creating a niche and high-quality content that is relevant to your product or service by using images and videos along with texts that are positively associated with your brand.
  • Using specific keywords that include the location of your service or business.
  • Optimising your website for mobile devices so that it is mobile-friendly and efficient.
  • Building connective links from authentic and reputable sources.
  • Gaining positive feedback, testimonials, and reviews from your customers.

Google mobile-friendly update (Mobilegeddon)

In April 2015, Google issued a major ranking algorithm that focused on websites being mobile-friendly and is specifically designed to boost websites that were mobile-friendly in Google’s mobile search results.

While this update was significant in its impact, the change to its ranking factor was actually small; it prioritised the quality of user experience when viewed on mobile screens such as mobile phones or tablets.

This innovative update was inspired by the sudden increase of search inquiries being done on mobile devices, and because Google had the foresight to anticipate a ‘mobile-first world’, they were right in implementing it as many Digital Marketing agencies in Singapore and across the world uses it now.

There are many features of a website that makes it mobile-friendly and these requirements have to be met before a website can be considered user-friendly.

  • Responsive Design – a website design that automatically adjusts itself to fit any screen it is displayed on without being obscured.
  • Interactive Elements – a website that has interactive elements with proper support allows users to feel inclusive.
  • Little to None Intrusive Elements – minor popups or ads that occupy an entire screen is a turn-off to users. If needed, ads should be considerate to the user experience without hindering the content.
  • Loading Speed – included in the user-friendly feature is making a site’s webpage loading speed a factor in the ranking. Methods such as image optimisation and minimal coding such as using Accelerated Mobile Pages contribute to fast loading times.

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