If your company has a website (you realize of course that’s not really optional), you have likely heard the word algorithm tossed around when talking about Google and how the search engine sorts and serves search results.
But what are algorithms and what do they actually do?
For virtually any search query, there are thousands if not millions of possible results Google could serve as a result. But serving just any result – without regard to topic relevance and potential user experience, would lead to searcher frustration – frustration that would lead to declining market share for Google.
Sophisticated formulas and processes called algorithms that are designed to deliver the most relevant and user friendly search results for each query.
How many algorithms are there?
Three primary ones:
This one is one of their oldest – nicknamed Panda.
What does Panda measure? The quality of the content on your site.
Want to do well with Panda? Here are 6 things to consider when trying to determine if your content will pass the Panda test:
Would you trust the information presented in this article?
- Is this article written by an expert or enthusiast who knows the topic well, or is it more shallow in nature?
- Does the site have duplicate, overlapping, or redundant articles on the same or similar topics with slightly different keyword variations?
- Would you be comfortable giving your credit card information to this site?
- Does this article have spelling, stylistic, or factual errors?
- Are the topics driven by genuine interests of readers of the site, or does the site generate content by attempting to guess what might rank well in search engines?
Have you at any time added spammy back-links or bought back links to your website in the hope of better page rank on Google?
If you have – you better get rid of them. Google’s algorithm, called Penguin, focuses primarily on detecting “unnatural” or spammy links and penalize websites that use them.
The algorithm is scheduled for a major update in early 2016. If your site has spammy backlinks in any number – Penguin will find them and penalize you.
Hummingbird was a complete overhaul of the entire Google algorithm. If you consider the Google algorithm as an engine, Panda and Penguin are algorithm changes that are like putting a new part in the engine such as a filter or a fuel pump. But, Hummingbird wasn’t just a new part; when installed, it was a completely new engine.
The goal of the Hummingbird algorithm is for Google to better understand a user’s query. It is likely also a key part of Google’s effort to understand voice commands and queries… the wave of the future in search.
Do you want to avoid problems with Hummingbird? Focus on creating content that actually answers user queries rather than content that is simply stuffed with keywords.