Google recently celebrated its 20th anniversary, in keeping with that accomplishment I thought it only fitting to once more give a nod to a few of the more “notable” algorithms that have contributed to the SERPs of today.
2003 – Florida
Goal: Target sites that employed black hat SEO techniques such as:
- Keyword stuffing
- Hidden text
- Hidden links
- Link Farms
2005 – Jagger
Goal: Target misleading or deceptive on-page coded elements such:
- Duplicate & in-concise meta titles
- Poor url structure
- Duplication from www / non-www & slash / non-trailing slash url appendages
2010 – Mayday
Goal: Find the best sites that match up to long tail queries focused on identifying:
- High quality relevant content sites
- Sites recognized as authorities within that content niche
2011 – Panda
Goal: Target sites acting as link farms and address content depth identifying:
- Sites acting as link farms
- Thin content
Note: Panda was incorporated into the core Google algorithm in January 2016
2012 – Penguin
Goal: Target “spammy” websites, those sites using black hat link building schemes, reward sites using:
- inbound natural, authoritative and relevant links
Note: Penguin was incorporated into the core Google algorithm in September 2016
2013 – Hummingbird
Goal: Application of semantic principles to assist with understanding of the intent of searchers’ queries with the aim of matching them to more relevant results.
The impact of this algorithm is reflected in returning richer more accurate knowledge graphs, more reliable local search results and is paving the way for voice search opportunities
2014 – Pigeon
Goal: Offer better local search results by rewarding local businesses that have a strong organic presence with better visibility in the SERP.
A further primary aim of this algorithm was to serve the most relevant and useful results to users in a local setting by favouring those businesses within a certain geographical radius as they pertained to a users search intent and relevancy.
2015 – Mobilegeddon
Goal: Reward mobile-friendly websites with better search rankings and provide better results to searchers on mobile devices. Mobile “friendliness” was determined by factors including:
- Mobile bot crawlability
- Mobile page load speed
- Interstitial (pop-ups)
- Responsive design across a range of mobile devices
2015 – Rankbrain
Goal: Filters search results to help give users a best answer to search their query.
Method: Creation of a machine learning algorithm deployed as an artificial intelligence that converts written language into mathematical entities referred to as vectors. Applies complex correlations to those vectors to produce desired results.
2017 – Fred / Maccabees
Goal: Devalue low-quality content meant to generate revenue. Factors influencing this may include:
- Low quality user engagement
- Thin and low quality content
- UX barriers
- Mobile problems
- Aggressive monetization
- Aggressive affiliate setups
2018 – Google Medic / YMYL
Goal: Ensure that websites that could potentially impact the future happiness, health, financial stability, or safety of users are specifically following Google best practices and reward those that are recognized as trusted authorities within these niches.
Your Money or Your Life (YMYL) sites are defined as:
- Pages that solicit personal information, such as personal identification numbers, bank account numbers, drivers license numbers, etc., which could be used for identity theft.
- Pages used for monetary transactions on which users might give their credit account or bank account information; for example, any page that allows you to buy something.
- Pages that offer medical or health information that could impact your physical well-being.
- Pages offering advice on major life decisions, such as pages on parenting, purchasing a home, a vehicle and so on.
- Pages offering advice on major life issues that could impact your future happiness and finances, such as pages giving legal or financial advice.
2018 – Neural Matching Algorithm
Goal: To match a search query to a web page, using only the search query and the web page itself. Web pages ranked by this kind of algorithm will not have been promoted to the top positions by virtue of links or keywords, since this kind of algorithm is about “relevance matching.” [Roger Montti – Search Engine Journal]
These are just a few of the more notable algorithms that Google has shared information about. Google “tweaks” its algorithms well over 500 times per year. There is no doubt that Google will continue to enhance and refine its core algorithm as it continues to focus on better understanding the nuance of our questions and offer the most ideal answers.