Know about the implications of the five major Google updates and how you could stay compliant

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If you suddenly experience a major shakeup in the marketing campaign that stays on, it could be the effect of some Google update. Google keeps on changing its algorithm almost every day. The updates keep marketers worried. Marketers are worried because each update entails some change in the rules of the game that they have to understand and make changes in their campaign for ensuring compliance.  Understanding the updates is not always easy because it happens without any announcement. The effects can only tell if updates have happened. It means that marketers have to monitor the campaigns closely and on noticing, any unnatural changes can investigate further to know if it is the result of some Google update.

Gaining knowledge about updates and its implications is necessary to work out suitable plans for ensuring that the marketing campaign does not falter in meeting the requirements.  The most notable update Panda, launched in 2011 paved the way of some other major updates that followed in quick succession, and now it has almost become a norm to expect at least one major update in a year.  In this article, we will discuss five Google updates in chronological order from the time of Panda, explain its implications and show how to respond to it.


The Panda update shook the SEO world when it made its maiden appearance on February 24, 2011. The update had a very wide coverage as it targeted websites that thrived on plagiarised content and used duplicate content to take unfair advantage in earning good ranks.  Thin content, keyword stuffing and user-generated spams were the other targets of the update that sent shivers among marketers, as they did not know what had hit them and how to come out of it.  In its initial stages, Panda was a filter but later in January 2016 became a part of the core algorithm.  Panda assigns a score to web pages that correlate to search rankings. To stay in tune with Panda, review the website closely and regularly to remove elements that are obnoxious according to Google.


About a year after the Panda rollout, Google launched the Penguin update on April 24, 2012.  The sole purpose of the update was to create new guidelines about the quality of links that could enrich the backlink profile.  The update sounded the death knell for spammy link building methods that focused more on the quantity rather than the quality of links. The black hat practices in link building received a severe jolt as only organically acquired good quality links could earn the recognition of Google. Penguin works in real time and conducting regular link audits to identify and remove poor quality links is the way to stay compliant with Google’s ways. Be suspicious about any unexpected gains in earning links as it might contain inferior links that can harm your prospects.


The launch of the update on August 22, 2013, highlighted Google’s shift in focus from individual words to the interpretation of the entire search query to find out the user intent.  By knowing the user intent, it would be possible to provide results that match closest to what users want.   The update affected websites that carried low-quality content and relied on keyword stuffing.  Although keywords are important, even if a page does not contain any keyword, Google would scan the entire query and if the intent matches with the page, would not hesitate to pick it up for serving against the query. Taking the cue, marketers have to shift the focus on the concept and not on particular keywords in searches. Capturingsynonyms, related searches and co-occurring terms within the ambit of keyword research is the new norm.


Launched in the US on July 24, 2014, and for the UK, Australia and Canada on December 22, 2014, the Pigeon update aimed at improving on-page as well as off page optimisation efforts.  The update helped to narrow the gap between the core algorithm and local algorithm. The update affected those searches in which the user’s location is critical.  It renewed the importance of traditional factors in search engine optimisation for ranking in local results. The indications are clear that you have to invest more time and effort in on-page as well as off-page optimisation.  Analyse your current efforts by using suitable tools like WebSite Auditor.


The Mobile update of April 21, 2015, marked the advent of mobile age in search engine optimisation.  The update was unequivocal in choosing mobile-friendly web pages for ranking high in mobile search results. Pages not optimised for mobile devices, experience heavy loss in search rankings. Using mobile friendly responsive design for creating speedy and much more user-friendly pages makes it easy to become Google’s chosen website.  To determine which aspects of the page needs improvement, you can take Google’s mobile-friendly test.







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