Google uses over 200 algorithms (checkpoints) to determine where a website will rank on their search results and for which search queries. The exact checkpoints are part of Google’s secret recipe and working this periodic table can be a real challenge for even the best SEO specialists.
Google does however make recommendations and occasional give out a hint or two. The SEO community has over time simplified these checkpoints and placed them into four categories of functions. Each category has been given animal characters to seem less intimidating.
Here is a brief overview of these four animals:
- Google Panda: The Panda algorithm was first released in February 2011, named after its creator, Google engineer Navneet Panda. The algorithm focuses on helping websites with unique informative content appear above websites full of spam, advertising and copyrighted material. The algorithm continues to have numerous updates every few months.
- Google Penguin: The Penguin algorithm was first released in April 2012, and has been Google’s best weapon against black-hat SEO techniques by dodgy webmasters. Google’s original back-rub algorithm ranked websites by the number of backlinks it had from other sites. However, many webmasters took advantage of this by creating thousands of backlinks from random (often empty websites). The penguin algorithm now checks all backlinks rather than just counting them and penalises websites which engage in this practice. Many websites have been hit by this algorithm especially when a cheap agency or developer was used.
- Google Hummingbird: The Hummingbird algorithm was first released in August 2013. Hummingbird is an advanced artificial intelligence algorithm which tries to understand the meaning of people’s search queries often when a question is being asked and directing searchers to the most relevant websites to answer their questions. Google continues to develop more advanced artificial intelligence algorithms to improve search results and recently announced RankBrain (more on that later).
- Google Pigeon: The Pigeon algorithm was first released in July 2014 and tied in Google Maps with the Google search engine. Now whenever you do a search on Google for a restaurant, hotel or coffee shop Google looks at your location first, and then using data from Google Maps shows you the best coffee shops within your location rather than a coffee shop 50km away.
Each of these animals plays an important part in your SEO campaign and you need to understood them if you hope to be number 1 for your keyword. Over the next few months we will go through each of these animals in more detail and learn more about how they work and what they mean for you site.
All Mogul sites are built with best SEO practices. Should you wish to further improve your website’s rankings in Google get in touch with us today.