Google Algorithm Updates 2015
Whilst we spend this time with our loved ones and look back on the year that has been, reflecting on the past 365 days; It’s important that we acknowledge what happened, how it affected you and what processes you implemented to deal with any issues. What was successful and what wasn’t?
2015 proved that it was a year that produced somethings out of nothings and it holds the biggest cliff-hanger in recent memory.
Is It just a myth?
It was the most anticipated Google Update that just never happened.
Digital Marketing Agencies and business owners alike were bracing themselves for the launch of Google’s latest Penguin Update. This wasn’t just any old update though; it mimics Panda and was to become a Rolling Algorithm update.
Google officially released Penguin 3.0 on October 17th 2014 – over 12 months ago.
John Mueller has been quoted saying that “it will make webmasters lives easier and could be a delight”…. How much you read into this is entirely up to you.
Whichever way you look at it, it can only really mean one thing… Low Authority Links or Link Farming (including Private Blog Networks (PBN’s)) are continually going to be penalised by Google and it’s army of Penguins!
We neither confirm nor deny | February 7th 2015
Heading right back to the start of 2015, the 7th of February to be exact, saw a shake up in the SERPs for many businesses. Was this an official update? The answer is No.
Google has not confirmed any update on or around this date. Speculation continues around whether or not anything was adjusted. All we know from our end is that heavy fluctuations were noticed right across the World Wide Web. Digital Marketing Companies who offer SEO Services were demanding answers to pass onto their clients.
Google’s benchmark Mobile Update | April 22nd 2015
In a shock to the Digital Marketing industry, Google pre-announced a major Algorithm Update. Google gave webmasters plenty (if not too much) time to modify their websites to be more mobile friendly.
With a huge market shift towards mobile usage, Google has had to act and reward websites that are fully responsive or on a dedicated mobile platform that continually produce low bounce rates.
The initial impact of Mobilegeddon was thought to be quite expansive, where in reality, it was fairly small. Top Search Engine Optimisation companies reported minimal fluctuations in the results page.
Maybe the months and months of warnings were actually heard by the consumers and business owners?
WARNING: Quality Control in Progress | May 3rd 2015
Dubbed ‘Phantom 2’ – Google officially reported that it had made algorithmic changes that impacted Google’s core Quality Signals.
There were large scale and major ranking changes over a number of industries.
Hubpages reported losing over 22% of its traffic compared to the previous week. If this doesn’t class as a major update, I’m not sure what will!?
“Imagine how hard it is to run a business when you see 22 percent of your traffic evaporate overnight.” Paul Edmondson ~ HubPages
Although targeted towards ‘Quality Signals’, Google did not specify which signals the Algorithm update refereed to.
They did however confirm that the update was not Spam related in any way. It was not targeted towards any specific sites, industries or verticals, but rather an overall ranking update.
Slow release Panda algorithm refresh | July 17th 2015
We all knew the refresh was coming, we could feel it running through our veins moments before it’s release. Unlike the previous Panda Algorithm updates, this was rolled out very, very… very slowly. In fact it would prove to take months.
Google confirmed the latest refresh of the Panda algorithm affected between 2-3% of search queries. This was a lower percentage than the September 2014 refresh and substantially lower than the May 2014 Panda Update which recorded 7.5%.
This refresh caught a fair amount of webmasters in the midst of updating content on their sites, especially E-Commerce websites.
Although Google confirmed that it was too late to make changes to be in line with the latest Panda Update, it was a good idea to continue to add and refresh the content for your website. Any improvement in the quality of content will never do you any harm.
Once the waves had settled Google mentioned that they can see “many high quality small and medium sites ranking higher” in the Search Engine Results Page (SERP).
AI Machine’s are a reality | announced: October 26th 2015
Google confirmed ‘RankBrain’ is an Artificial Intelligence (AI) System used by Google to assist to find and process the search results. It incorporates ‘Machine Learning’ meaning that the AI system teaches itself as it plods along during its busy days work.
This system was not replacing the way Google currently displayed search results; rather it was to become a key element in the current Google Algorithm – Hummingbird.
In fact Google has gone as far to say that RankBrain is the 3rd most important ranking factor out of the 200+ that they use.
If you are thinking about implementing a search engine optimisation campaign, you’ll need to keep this at the forefront of your mind – or remind your Digital Marketing Agency to keep it in theirs!
RankBrain is only one piece of Google’s Algorithm puzzle that contains over 200 pieces (Check out Moz’s Periodic Table of Ranking signals to gain a much deeper understanding)
“RankBrain is one of the “hundreds” of signals that go into an algorithm that determines what results appear on a Google search page and where they are ranked.
In the few months it has been deployed, RankBrain has become the third-most important signal contributing to the result of a search query” Greg Corrado ~ Senior Research Scientist
RankBrain has been developed with the thought that it will interpret queries more effectively and translate these so the end user receives the most relevant search result. RankBrain begun it’s implementation early in 2015, even though it’s Artificial Intelligence System had actually been live and processed worldwide for ‘a couple of months’ before Google announced it.
There we go Google… back to your tricky self again!!
Expect more sneakiness in 2016!
Happy New Year to everyone and we hope you see in 2016 with dignity and class!