Google’s Major Algorithm Updates Impacting Your Business in 2019

Written by Sharoon Emmanuel

Every business with a website has to optimize it according to the norms set by search engines to rank high. Research reveals that over 90% of searches are being done through Google, making it the most important search engine to target your audience.

SEO Market Share

In order to capitalize on search engine rankings, businesses need to align their SEO strategies in compliance with Google’s algorithm updates.

Related: - Search Engine Optimization Dubai

For businesses, it can be hard to predict when an algorithm update is coming, so having a proper plan of action and an exit strategy will go a long way in terms of enhancing SERPs. Crafting a solid SEO strategy for your business depends on trying to understand how search engines operate and how even a minor update can put you in hot waters.

So, to gain max traction on search engines, filter your digital entities through the following google algorithm update funnel.  


1. Panda

Google Panda Update

Release date: -

24th February, 2011

What it deals with: -

  • Duplicate content
  • Keyword stuffing
  • Thin content
  • User-generated spam


What it does: The Google Panda update assigns a quality score to websites and based on that it ranks them.  Earlier, the Panda update worked as a filter, but in January 2016, it officially became part of Google’s core algorithm. Over the period of time, various versions of the Panda update were rolled out, further narrowing down success chances for the black hat community.

Initially, penalties for this update prevailed for longer times, some cases even reported being de-listed for years but after consistent tweaks in the algorithm, both penalties and recoveries happen faster.

Prevention Methods: -

  • Constant content audit
  • Fill up the website with thick, meaningful content
  •  Avoiding keyword stuffing
  • Unique content production

Easy Way Out: -

Referring to a professional content marketing service provider will help you not only draft content for various platforms but would also enhance your digital marketing results. 


2. Penguin

Google Penguin Update

Release date: -

24th April, 2012

What it deals with: -

  • Links from poor sites
  • Irrelevant links
  • Links with over-optimized anchor texts

What it does: Google’s penguin update focuses on penalizing sites with poor and irrelevant links.

Prevention Methods: -

  • Link monitoring
  • Link audit
  • Spotting unusual linking activities
  • Analyzing unexpected traffic gains
  • Getting rid of harmful links
  • Checking for penalty risks


3. Pirate

Google Pirate Update

Release date: -

August 2012

What it deals with: -

  • Copyright content
  • Infringement concerns

What it does: Google's Pirate Algorithm Update was rolled out to prevent sites from using copyright content to rank well and allow rightful owners to enjoy all the perks. This update also included a report filing system by the name of DCMA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) to cater copyright infringement reports or which is applicable to this day.

Prevention Methods: -

  • Don’t use copyrighted content without permission

Related: - Digital Marketing Company in Dubai


4. Hummingbird

Google Hummingbird Update

Release date: - 

22nd August, 2013

What it deals with: -

  • Keyword stuffing
  • Low-quality content

What it does: - Google’s Hummingbird update helps Google better construe search queries to provide results that perfectly matches the searcher’s intent. Owing to the intent based mechanism, Hummingbird ranks a page even if it doesn’t contain the exact phrases the searcher entered. This important Google Algorithm update relies on natural language processing which constitutes of LSIs (latent semantic indexing), co-occurring terms and synonyms.

Prevention Methods: -

  • Keyword bank expansion
  • Focus more on concepts, not keywords
  • Detailed research on related searches, synonyms and co-occurring terms
  • Better understanding of the audience lingo
  • Diversifying content for both SEO & engagement

Related: - SEO services in Dubai


5. Pigeon

Pigeon Google Update

Release date: -

24th July, 2014

What it deals with: -

  • Poor on-page and off-page SEO
  • NAP inconsistency
  • Failure to add business in local directories
  • Improper or no Google My Business page

What it does:  Google Pigeon update centers on providing high-quality and relevant local search results. The update gave local search results more value and connected Google Web search and Google Map search in a more cohesive way.

Prevention Methods: -

  • Proper On-Page & Off-page optimization
  • Proper Google My Business setup
  • (NAP) Name, Address, Phone number consistency
  •  Listing in relevant local directories

Also Read: - How Small Businesses Compete with Giants Using SEO in UAE


6. Mobile (Mobilegeddon)

Google Mobile Update

Release date: -

 21st April, 2015

What it deals with: -

  • Lack of a mobile responsive site 
  • Poor mobile usability

What it does: Google’s Mobilegeddon Algorithm update ensures the mobile-friendliness of web pages.  Responsive websites are ranked at top search results while the non-responsive ones are filtered out from the SERPs or seriously down-ranked.

Prevention Methods: -

  • Go mobile responsive
  • Focus on speed and experience
  • Run Google’s mobile-friendly test

Related: - Responsive Web Development in UAE


7. Rank Brain

Google Rank Brain

Release date: -

26th October, 2015

What it deals with: -

  • Absence of query-specific relevance features
  •  Lack of meaningful content
  • Poor UX

What it does: RankBrain is an extension of Google’s Hummingbird algorithm. It operates on a machine learning system that allows Google to understand the meaning behind queries to provide best search results in response to those queries.

Prevention Methods: -

  • Amplify User Experience
  • Competitor analysis
  • Discovery of relevant terms
  • Brilliant content


8. Possum

Possum Google Update

Release date: -

 1ST September, 2016

What it deals with: -

  • Competition based on target location

What it does: Google’s Possum update can be called a more refined version of pigeon as it centers on delivering local results based on the searcher’s actual location. This algo works on a simple mechanism, the closer the searcher is to a business’s address, the more likely are the chances of appearing on local results.

Prevention Methods: -

  • Area-focused keyword list expansion
  • Constant geo-specific rank tracking


9. Fred

Google Fred Update

Release date: -

8th March, 2017

What it deals with: -

  • Ad-centered content
  • Enhancing search results

What it does: Fred is one of Google’s latest confirmed updates that penalizes websites that violate Google’s webmaster guidelines. The majority of affected websites are those that produce low-quality content just for the sake of generating revenue through ads.

Prevention Methods: -

  •  Website analysis for search quality
  • Creation of meaningful content
  • Relevant ad posting
  • Removing irrelevant affiliate links

 Related: - SEO Companies in UAE

Win with Search Engine Optimization

Working your way with all the major Google updates along with some rapid auditing and prevention will help your digital entities “Stay Clean” and grow.

Adjusting your SEO strategy according to all major Google algorithm updates will definitely help your business enhance SERPs. Going back to the basic always works and if you’re not getting the time to do it yourself, refer to Bester Capital Media for a free website audit.

If you have more to add, feel free to comment in the section below and do subscribe to our blog to stay updated with all the new happenings in the world of digital marketing. 

Originally Published February 14, 2019 12:00 AM, Updated September 27, 2019.

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