Digital marketing is always changing and this is especially true with regard to Google’s ranking algorithms. Google frequently rolls out updates that affect how websites are ranked based on filter changes, data refreshes or any number of alterations designed to increase relevance and quality in search results. In order for your site to perform at its highest potential level, staying informed with changes is essential in keeping ahead of competition.
Updating content to improve its organic search performance is an efficient and time-saving way of expanding traffic and SEO visibility without spending too much time creating brand new material. While regular creation of high-quality, fresh posts is necessary to maintain organic rankings, updating old blog articles or relevant information may bring it back into focus and boost search engine results pages.
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Google Panda was initially modified to improve content quality by eliminating duplicate, irrelevant and low-quality pages from websites. Ten months after that update was rolled out, they made similar adjustments but with greater emphasis on “up-to-date” content; also decreasing Exact Match Domain importance and making it harder for media websites to dominate search results.
This Google algorithm update made a dramatic shift to how sites are ranked on mobile devices, prioritizing mobile-friendly pages over desktop-oriented sites and making it harder for websites to manipulate their ranking results through link schemes or paid links.
Google’s Hummingbird and RankBrain updates have moved away from keywords in favor of natural language processing and semantic search, making it easier for Google to comprehend search queries in context, interpret text more accurately, recognize entities within them, and recognize relationships among them. With this update, they intend to further advance and enhance these efforts by simplifying how it interprets context of searches queries, interpret text interpretation and identify entities related to each query – efforts which this update is meant to augment and further refine.
There were no clear guidelines for this unconfirmed Google update, but it appears to have affected websites that use too many keyword-rich anchor texts in their backlinks, and may even penalize websites displaying too much advertising above the fold.
The Phantom Update had an enormous influence on a number of websites’ rankings. It appears as though this algorithm change targeted low-quality content by downgrading their rank if it contained keyword-rich pages with unnatural links and excessive internal linking structures. This update also affected websites using “old-fashioned” link building techniques such as buying links from private networks (PBNs). As a result, more user-friendly and relevant websites with deeper and structured content ranked higher – dealing a major blow to affiliate websites as it significantly decreased Exact Match Domains (EMD). Specifically, relevance decreased due to reduced importance of domain name extensions that contain an “exact match”.