February 1, 2021 by Diana Bocco

7 Google Algorithm Updates Every SEO Expert Should Know

Google likes to shuffle things up. Although they say that such shuffles (read: algorithm updates) are necessary to keep cheaters at bay, we all know who these updates really hurt, i.e. SEO players.

7 Google Algorithm Updates Every SEO Expert Should Know

At the end of the day, cheaters will devise new strategies to cheat the search giant. However, it hurts the established players because they spend months trying to play by the book and the next day, all of the previous efforts are wasted because of a new update.

The point is, Google algorithm updates are merciless and nobody is safe from them! This is why we are going to talk about seven such updates that every SEO player needs to keep an eye on.

Google Panda

If your content strategy revolves around producing cheap content and stuffing keywords, this update will likely affect your ranking. The sole purpose of creating this algorithm update was to reward the websites that produce high-quality, informative content while punishing such websites that produce low-quality content.

Apart from cheap content, Google Panda targets websites that focus on article spinning, duplicate, plagiarized, poorly written, and thin content. Additionally, it penalizes websites that produce content which provides no informational value or does not help the readers in any way.

You can avoid getting a hit from this algorithm by elevating your content’s quality. In addition, use Grammarly to detect grammatical errors and Copyscape to find plagiarized pieces.

Google Hummingbird

Unlike previous updates, Google is no longer looking to penalize any website or change their ranking. It is simply looking to improve the searching mechanism and this is exactly what they tried to achieve with Hummingbird.

Hummingbird helps Google improve search results. Often, websites target trending keywords to rank higher, even if the terms are not related to their products or services. Because of this, users may not always get appropriate results. The sole purpose of Hummingbird is to curb this behavior by interpreting the searcher’s intent and providing them with results that match their intention, not their typed queries.

Your top strategy in the face of Hummingbird is to create content that revolves around the keywords in a great manner. In addition, spend some time researching the topic and gain some knowledge regarding the targeted keywords so that you know how you will shape your content.

Google Pigeon

Google Pigeon makes it easy for users that are looking for location-optimized searches. With the help of this update, such websites rank higher on the SERPs that are closer to the location of the user responsible for a particular search query. So, the less the distance is, the higher the ranking will be!

There are no losers in this update, only winners! So, the best way of tackling Pigeon is by optimizing your content for a specific location. Additionally, you need to incorporate location-based keywords as well. Listing your business in the local business directories is also a great idea for improving your rank in the SERPs.


Judging from the sheer amount of mobile users, it is no surprise that Google introduced an update that targets the websites which are not catering to the needs of mobile users. Any website not optimized for mobile screens will have a wacky layout with no particular form. This is not a good look for any website.

With the inception of Mobilegeddon, every website that is not mobile-friendly or lacks a Responsive Web Design will have a hard time securing a desirable rank in the SERPs. To counter-attack this update, focus on mobile optimization, usability, and speed. Additionally, optimize the images, remove excessive codes, and get rid of intrusive elements, i.e. popup ads.

While optimizing your website, you must be quick to perform tests on it as well. This is to ensure that your efforts do not get wasted.

Google RankBrain

Google RankBrain further improves the Hummingbird update by using a machine-learning approach to make Google understand the searcher’s intent in a better way. This is done to ensure that the users get search results that are the closest to their entered queries.

According to Google, RankBrain is an important update since it provides entrepreneurs with a chance to improve their SEO efforts. It also allows them to work towards making their website a better place for their audience. The relevance of the web page is important in RankBrain. Apart from making your website search-friendly, you need to focus on your CTR levels.

So, optimize titles to get relatively high CTR levels, and rethink your content strategy to increase user engagement of your website.

Google Penguin

Google Penguin is very much like Panda but instead of targeting websites for low-quality content, it targets manipulative links. The objective of this algorithm update is to provide higher ranks to websites that are entertaining quality yet relevant links.

Before the update, many websites delved into gaining links through manipulative means. They bought fake links or linked their content to shady websites to gain a better position in the SERPs. Google launched Penguin to put an end to this practice and penalized everyone using low-quality links.

This algorithm update works in real-time. So, irrelevant links or links lacking in anchor text diversity may take a hit from Google. To recover from such a blow, you need to analyze the quality of all your backlinks. For this purpose, you can use SEO Spyglass or other online tools to differentiate between quality and irrelevant links.


Fred is designed to penalize websites that provide low-quality content and create posts for the sole purpose of generating revenues from ad mechanism. Considering this, anything that lacks an informational aspect in their content will be targeted by Google through this update. Since such websites are operating in violation of Google’s webmaster guidelines, they will be penalized in the form of low rankings.

The best thing entrepreneurs can do is to ensure that their site is devoid of thin content. That said, if you are displaying ads, make sure that the web pages hosting the ads also contain high-quality content. The point is always to show Google that you care about your audience and the best way to do this is by providing excellent content.

Wrapping Up

With all these updates, it may seem like Google is out to get you. Too many people used to take advantage of search engines and get away by providing a sub-par experience to their audience. Not anymore!

Thanks to these algorithm updates, search engines are a much safer place for the audience. That said, finding your way around the algorithms may be difficult at first. But once you get the hang of it, everything will be as easy as ABC!

Believe it not, such updates will also help to improve your SEO standing one way or another.


**About the Author: Qurat-ul-Ain Ghazali is a system engineer with a passion for writing, designing and anything tech-related. She is currently the digital content manager at Dynamologic Solutions, a leading fantasy football draft software company.

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