Are you using SEO to get ahead of your competition on Google? Want to understand the algorithms Google has in place that will affect the success of your website?

We share the 8 major algorithm updates and how they affect your SEO in the infographic below.

It’s important to understand that there are a reported 200+ factors that affect your ranking on Google.

We looked at these factors in detail in a couple of previous posts:

Google’s On Page Ranking Factors: Are They Fact or Myth?

Google’s Off Page Ranking Factors: Are They Fact or Myth?

Back to this infographic, where you’ll find more information about the following updates:

  • Panda
  • Penguin
  • Hummingbird
  • Pigeon
  • Mobile
  • RankBrain
  • Possum
  • Fred

Details include the release date, potential hazards, and an explanation for each.

Hope you find it helpful!

What are Google algorithm updates?

At Google HQ, updates are being rolled out constantly to provide better services to their loyal customers.

In fact, around 500-600 algorithm changes are made each year.

Whilst this is a huge number, many of these minor tweaks don’t get spotted by SEO users.

However, every now and again, Google releases major algorithm updates that transform the way information is gathered and presented to users.

To take the 2014 Pigeon update as an example, traditional SEO determinants now played a large role in ranking local results. It meant that Google’s local search algorithm was tied more closely to their larger web algorithm, improving ranking results based on a user’s location and distance.

Major updates such as Pigeon play a huge role in not only shaping the user experience, but also in driving webmasters to make changes in order to stay ahead of the game.

Ultimately, it’s these big updates that determine the success of any SEO strategy.

And, in much-loved Google fashion, major updates are always labelled after cute animals to make them more user-friendly and distinctive.

Understanding Algorithms

In order to further understand why these algorithms play a huge role in SEO strategy, it’s important to know a little bit more about the algorithms themselves.

Google’s algorithms locate data from its index to instantly produce the best possible results for a user’s query.

That query could be the nearest Thai restaurant (this is why Pigeon was huge), the fastest way to get to a tourist hotspot, or an update on a live football score.

Using ranking signals, webpages are ranked based on their overall relevance to that search query. The set of webpages that result from this are presented on a SERP (search engine results page).

It’s by rolling out these intelligent updates that users aren’t directed to Thai restaurants miles away from them; that aren’t given irrelevant live public transport data; and that they aren’t given updates to a sport they never watch.

Updates to watch out for

We’re not ones to even attempt what Google thinks.

However, based off historical updates and current legislation, it might be worth thinking about what major changes could be on the way to ensure your SEO is ready.

Current trends point towards updates that, above all, prioritise user privacy and data protection.

With over half of Google’s search queries being conducted on mobile devices, it’s no surprise that emphasis is given on improving the mobile experience.

For this reason, we expect more and more updates to focus on driving mobile SEO.