All the talk these days is about Google’s latest update to its search algorithm, which came in April of this year and is such a big deal that everybody’s calling it “Mobilegeddon.” That update will rank websites higher if they’re mobile friendly. And it will penalize website that don’t look good on phones, tablets and other smaller screens.
Algorithm updates can sometimes seem like an arms race between black-hat and white-hat SEOs. As the digital equivalent of card sharks come up with new tricks to try to fool Google into ranking sites well that don’t deserve it, Google has found ways to foil the latest con.
The fun graphic below shows how, as Google has gotten bigger and smarter, so have its algorithm updates gotten more sophisticated.
For example, the first algorithm updates back in 2003 seemed targeted largely at fake links and keyword stuffing, not exactly the smartest of tricks even in those early days of SEO. By 2011, Google’s Panda update targeted sites with a high ratio of ads to content, a much less obvious issue and perhaps not always an intentional attempt to deceive website visitors. Google continued to not just punish black-hat SEO tricks but to reward quality content with updates in 2013 favoring longer articles.
Aside from entertainment for SEO geeks, knowing the history of algorithm updates can remind us what Google likes (quality content presented in a clear way), what it doesn’t like (deception and over-commercialism), and what it used to like that it now doesn’t care about (Google Authorship).
Will knowing Google’s past help us predict Google’s future? Only time will tell what Google’s next algorithm change will be.
And we shouldn’t fret about it too much anyway. While it’s important if you want traffic to your website, Google’s algorithm is not God, though our society often treats computation like a kind of religion. But in reality, Google’s algorithm can’t yet detect truth and it doesn’t govern every aspect of our lives, even online.
Whatever happens, you can be sure that Google will continue to make changes to stay ahead of the online con men with short cuts that offer to get traffic quick to serve up search results that humans actually want to see.
— Erik Curren, Curren Media Group
Please include attribution to Blog.HubSpot.com with this graphic.