26 Aug SEO 101: Google’s Ranking Algorithms
Search engine optimization is essential in a world where 93% of online experiences begin with a search engine and 75% of users won’t scroll past the first page of search engine results. That means that if your business has a website that needs more traffic — and almost all businesses do — it’s time to find a great search engine marketing company and get rolling with an SEO analysis. But as you go through that SEO analysis process, you might find that you don’t understand the strategies that will supposedly help you rank better. The key to understanding them is learning a little more about the algorithms Google uses to rank websites in the hopes of providing a better service to searchers. If you’re just getting started, there are five that you should know a little more about: the mobile-friendly update and four others codenamed Panda, Penguin, Pigeon, and Hummingbird.
This one’s all in the name. Rolled out in April 2015, this algorithm update was designed to give a boost to websites that meet the Google Webmaster mobile-friendly guidelines. It only affects searches performed on mobile devices.
First introduced in 2011, Panda is essentially a filter that prevents low-quality websites from ranking well in the search engine results pages (SERPs, in industry slang). The most important way to ensure that Panda doesn’t negatively affect your site is to create original, high-quality content. That’s why blogging has become such an important part of SEO efforts; companies that blog more than 15 times a month get five times as much traffic as companies that blog less frequently or don’t blog at all. But you have to watch out, because just a few pages of duplicated or low-quality content can cause a site to rank poorly.
Google Penguin was created in 2012 to prevent the unethical link-building practices that search engine optimizers had been using to artificially inflate the rankings of certain websites. Links are still an important part of SEO, and you want links pointing to your website from other sites. But Penguin means that you can’t just buy those links or build them yourself. Instead, you have to earn them from other high-quality sites.
Pigeon is the algorithm update that gives preference to local search results, and has been used since 2014. This is generally good both for searchers and for businesses, given that 50% of mobile searches are conducted in hopes of finding local results — and 61% of those searches result in a purchase.
Hummingbird, one of the less talked-about algorithm updates, was put into place in 2013. It is intended to determine context, providing results that answer users’ questions more accurately rather than focusing in on just a few keywords within a query. It also caters toward search queries that are phrased more naturally — “What did Kate Hudson wear to the Oscars in 2010?” for example, rather than “Kate Hudson fashion Oscars 2010.”
What else is confusing you about SEO analysis? Join the discussion in the comments.