Why Google’s Algorithms Matter

Google is one of the most useful search engines on the Internet. Some people claim this is due to its massive popularity. But in all reality, Google is great at what it does because of the coding algorithms underneath its hood. In the early days, Google’s search algorithms focused mainly on keywords and meta-keywords. Sites could earn high search rankings by placing boatloads of keywords in their article and the article’s coding.

Google’s engineers work hard to make sure that their search results are relevant, and regularly modify the main algorithm to help ensure that only the most useful and constructive content makes it to the first page.


The Panda Algorithm

Google implemented the Panda algorithm in February of 2011. People noticed immediately, because many websites lost their high rankings. Panda was designed to put the highest quality content on Google’s first page. After this algorithm started functioning, Google posted an extensive checklist that websites could use to evaluate the quality of their websites.

Panda demotes websites that are predominantly comprised of thin pages, duplicate articles, and low-quality content. Nobody really understands how the algorithm determines the quality of a website, but domain owners are encouraged to fill out thin pages, make sure every article adds value, and ensure that the content is grammatically correct, well-written, and interesting.

The Penguin Algorithm

In April of 2012, Google released Penguin. Like Panda, Penguin is a filter – the algorithm is re-run on occasion and re-evaluates websites with each re-run. The Penguin algorithm was designed to demote sites that had “cheated” to get to the top of Google’s rankings, and rates the trustworthiness of a website by evaluating the links that lead to a site. If a site has many unnatural links, then Google trusts it less, and lowers its search ranking. Penguin is an algorithm that works on a site-wide basis rather than page-by-page.

The Hummingbird Algorithm

Unlike Panda or Penguin which were modifications of the main algorithm, Hummingbird is an entirely new main algorithm. Introduced in August of 2013, Google designed Hummingbird to help the engine better understand user’s queries. Rather than literally searching for each word in a query (such as “I need a cheap used car in San Bernardino”), the algorithm identifies the key words and uses ‘insight’ to determine what the user is actually looking for (it might display search results for “used car lots in San Bernardino”).

If you want a high ranking in Google, try to answer possible user queries and produce the best content possible. Keywords and links are still important to getting a high search ranking, but ultimately, content that is useful because of its high quality is what Google wants on its first page.

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