In 2012, Google introduced the “Penguin” update. This major update was in response to websites using link schemes to artificially boost search rankings and increase traffic. The Penguin update was designed to penalize websites for spamming Google’s results page. While the update did clean up the search results, the problem was that it operated on a periodic basis, which penalized some websites too much. Before the newest update, when a site got flagged they would have to clean up all the bad links and spam on their pages and wait for Penguin to run again. But some websites had to wait upwards of two years for their sites to be off the list.
As of September 2016, Penguin is running in real-time. This means the algorithm will filter results much faster. This allows websites that clean up properly to be allowed back in the normal search rankings quickly. No longer will flagged sites have to wait for a long period of time to be off the list. Also, any sites that are found to have enough bad backlinks are penalized in real-time.
This newest Penguin update is good for consumers and businesses alike. Consumers won’t have illegitimate companies coming up in their search results and businesses won’t have those companies featured above them on Google anymore.
Google also rolled out a new update dubbed “Possum” in September. Possum changes Google’s algorithm to produce more accurate results. One of the important features of Possum is it’s improved searches based on location. Sometimes when a company’s address would fall just outside city limits, their websites wouldn’t rank highly in searches for that area. The new update allows relevant businesses in the general area to be displayed on Google, even if their address is technically outside the city.
Also, consumer results will vary based on their own location. For example, if you use your home computer to search for something, then drive to another city and search it again on your phone, the results may come up completely different. Google is doing this because they want to tailor search results more effectively by location. The keywords “near me” were extremely high-ranking over the last year, so their changes to the core algorithm make sense.
There are SEO changes happening all the time at Google, so it’s important to stay on top of the game. Keep up with the latest at Design Extensions and the world of SEO by visiting our website!