What are Google algorithms and why do they matter?

The Google search engine is one of the most popular entry points to the vast store of websites that constitute the online world. Businesses know that to be successful they must receive the best possible share of Google searches directed to their website. The more successful a business is with its online presence, the higher it is ranked by Google.

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Google algorithm infographic The key to the way Google makes these determinations is the “Google algorithm”. This is a complicated set of parameters that determine which websites are the most relevant and worthy of receiving search traffic.

What is the Google algorithm?
This is what Google has to say: “For a typical query, there are thousands, if not millions, of webpages with helpful information. Algorithms are the computer processes and formulas that take your questions and turn them into answers. Today Google’s algorithms rely on more than 200 unique signals or “clues” that make it possible to guess what you might really be looking for. These signals include things like the terms on websites, the freshness of content, your region and PageRank.”

Every day, the Google algorithm is busy seeking out and rewarding quality websites that meet the Google criteria. Conversely, websites can be – and often are – penalised for violation of the guidelines by losing their ranking.

Why does the Google algorithm matter to me?
Successful online businesses know that if they tailor their online presence to meet the Google algorithm criteria, they will be rewarded with more traffic.

However this is a specialist field and most business owners do not have the time or skills to master the intricacies of this ranking process. Luckily there are plenty of digital agencies, such as us here at Sushi Digital, which employ search engine specialists to ensure our customers receive the benefit of the latest updates.
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Google algorithm update 2014The Google Algorithm is constantly changing
Periodically the Google algorithm is updated, in order to ensure that it continues to deliver the most relevant search results.

One of the tasks of an SEO marketer, or a digital agency, is to monitor these updates and determine what changes need to be made to clients’ websites.

This process is known as keeping websites ‘update-proof’. Some updates have had minimal effect but others have been dramatic.

Major updates to the Google algorithm

Google Panda (2011)
The Google Panda algorithm was designed to penalize low quality websites that lacked worthwhile content. For sites to be optimised for Panda, SEO specialists need to ensure that articles and content are not only original, but contribute actual value.

Google Penguin (2012)
Google Penguin took aim at websites that used deceitful SEO practices in order to try to gain unjustified high rankings.
Penguin penalised the ranking of websites that were spammy, keyword-stuffed, had dubious links and were ‘over-optimised’.

Google Pirate (2012)
This filter is designed to prevent sites with copyright infringement reports, as filed through Google’s DMCA system, from ranking well in Google’s listings. The filter is periodically updated.

Google Top Heavy (2012)
This update targets sites that are ‘top heavy’ with advertising and penalises their rankings. It is constantly updated so sites that have escaped the net previously may get caught in the future.

Google Payday (2013)
This new algorithm was targeted at cleaning up search results for heavily spammed search terms such as payday loans, insurance, pornography, Viagra and other heavily spammed queries.

Google Hummingbird (2013)
The new search platform that Google launched in September 2013 is ‘precise and fast’ like its namesake and was one of the most significant changes to the algorithm for many years.
It focuses on providing better results for more human, conversational-style search queries by looking at the meaning behind the words.
The goal is that pages matching the meaning of the search will do better, rather than pages matching just a few words.

Brought to you by the Sushi Digital Team in Perth, Australia. To find out more about how Sushi can help you optimise your website or maximise your search rankings, contact us on hello@sushidigital.com.au or phone 1300 301 988.

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