When meeting with new clients or prospects, one question I often get asked is: “What are the latest Google updates?” Heading into 2016, I thought this would be a good time to recap some of Google’s latest changes. To stay up-to-date with the latest algorithm changes, I highly recommend visiting Google Algorithm Change History at Moz.
April 22, 2015 – Mobile Update
Google made very clear the intent of this update: Provide a better experience for mobile searchers. Directly from Google:
“Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results.”
Basically, if your site was not providing a mobile-friendly experience, your search rankings were going to suffer starting on April 21.
Addressing this update is simple – you need to provide your mobile visitors with a mobile-friendly experience. That can be either through the use of responsive design throughout your site (Google preferred), or by having a dedicated mobile-friendly version of selected pages on your site.
Unsure if you site is mobile friendly? Use the Mobile-Friendly Test from Google. Mobile search use isn’t going away any time soon (in fact, mobile searches have overtaken desktop searches in the U.S.), so we highly recommend that you move this to the top of your website to-do list in 2016, if you haven’t already.
May 3, 2015 – Quality Update
The details of this May update aren’t nearly as clear as the April 21 update, but what is confirmed is that Google made changes in the way that it measures content “quality” as part of its algorithm. Exactly what changes, Google isn’t saying.
One thing that is clear though is that quality counts in Google’s eyes, and producing quality content on a regular basis is a solid foundation to any content development effort.
July 17, 2015 – Google Panda 4.2
This was an update to Google’s original Panda update from 2011. Panda is a search filter that is meant to stop sites with poor-quality content from rising to the top of Google’s search results. When a new update comes out, a new round of low-quality sites are generally penalized. This update affected about 2-3% of all English language searches. Additionally, sites that were penalized in the last round of Panda updates have a chance to remove their penalty if they correct their errors.
Has your site been affected by a Panda update? Here are some thoughts from Google on how you can improve your site and potentially have the Panda penalty removed in a future update.
Hopefully, this summary gives you a better idea of some of things that are important to Google: a user-friendly experience and high-quality content are two common themes in many of their updates.
Interested in a free search ranking report for your website? Simply fill out the form below, and we’ll prepare your report for you within two business days. If you have questions for a Cleveland SEO firm, please contact Bob Goricki at 440-449-6800.