Teach me about Google Algorithms

3 February 2015
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If you are someone who works in the digital marketing industry, you will have heard of panda, penguin, pirate, Venice and so forth. But for those of you who haven’t, let me give you a quick guide of what these algorithms are, and why you should be aware of them.

What do these algorithms do?

Google has been around since September 1998, not that long right? But over the years it has had to get smarter to learn how users search, and more importantly, learn how to stop mischievous people from spamming your search results. This results in Google creating multiple algorithms to help assist you and stop the baddies (ok that’s a bit harsh but you get what I mean). Each new algorithm they release, they usually give it a fun, quirky name, such as Panda.

So what are all the different algorithms out there?

There are hundreds, so I won’t name all of them, but I will explain the most important ones that you need to be aware of. Let’s start with Panda.

Panda Algorithm
This algorithm relates to your content and was first released in February 2011. Google has developed a clever rule that detects whether or not your website is producing quality or spammy content. Websites with poor quality content such as keyword stuffing, duplicate copy, or copy written just for search engines will not rank and could affect your whole site.

Penguin Algorithm
Penguin relates to your links and was first introduced in April 2012. Having other websites link to your site is very important to get good rankings, it shows other sites trust your content and are influencing their browsers to visit you. In the past, websites used to buy hundreds of links (usually dodgy website links) to quickly get their rankings up, which was unfair to those websites who were producing content users would want to see. So penguin came along and wiped out all websites using this methodology to build external links. That’ll teach em.

Pigeon Algorithm
Pigeon was a clever algorithm release that brought users local company listings in the search results instead of big monster giant businesses. The algorithm would locate where you are searching from, and based from your search query would bring you back websites and companies that were near you. This helped boost online presence from smaller companies and ultimately made some major multinationals pretty grumpy.

Page Layout Algorithm
In February 2014, Google updated their Page Layout rule which basically tells off websites that load too many ads above the fold of your site. User’s want to see your content right away, not masses of adverts in their faces, people are very pushy these days. So Google listened and is off searching for these naughty sites.

Pirate Algorithm
The Pirate algorithm, first introduced in August 2012. Basically this search filter has been designed to take down any websites that are producing content, images, videos, reports etc as their own that are in actual fact copyrighted. Oops. Website masters who catch you doing this on their work will file a report to Google DMCA, which if you collect enough of these, may result in your site being deindexed. So maybe stick to originality instead of theft.

This is my quick overview in some of the major algorithms on Google. If you’re interested in finding out anymore, read my Education in SEO post for a quick 101 on SEO, or if you want your site to be checked over to ensure peace of mind that you’re not accidentally annoying Google, send me an email at Virginia.girtz@seriousideas.com or call our main line 01932 584920. You can even come visit me in our cool barn in Surrey!

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