SEO Strategy Changes | What Google Updates Mean for You

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Successful online businesses understand there is code to maintain in the pursuit of the perfect SEO strategy. Google has taken the time to develop this code, known as algorithms, and updates them frequently to ensure the best results are displayed first. As well, this process penalizes the less than desirable search results for partaking in bad practices.  As these updates are constantly changing, your SEO strategy needs to be monitored and evolving with these updates. While Google changes it search algorithm multiple times a year, these are usually small changes. However, occasionally major algorithm changes will be unveiled that affect search results in big ways. Your SEO strategy changes need to respond accordingly.

what do google updates mean for you

Feb 2011- Panda

Panda was Googles beginning attempts to crack down on thin content, content farming, sites with a high ad-to-content ratio, and several other quality issues. Since the release there have been multiple updates, enhancing the reliability of Google search results.

April 2012- Penguin

During this algorithm change, Google sought to penalize any website that used deceitful SEO practices to gain higher ranking. Web sites that were spammy, using keyword stuffing or were overly optimized lost ranking, impacting an estimated 3.1% of English queries. Followed by multiple updates within the algorithm, Penguin successfully targets page level violations accordingly.

2012- Pirate

This filter was designed to prevent with active copyright infringement reports from ranking well in Google. The filter has been periodically updated, but in 2014 a major update was revealed. Combating software and digital media piracy, this update was highly targeted.

2012: Top Heavy

During this change, Google updated their page layout algorithms to devalue sites with too much ad-space above the “fold”. Rather than scrolling down the page past a slew of ads, users want to see content right away. Web pages would also be penalized if the ads were deemed too distracting to users.


This algorithm was targeted to help identify and penalize websites that utilize search engine spam techniques to boost their rankings. Google was seeking to clean up search results for spammed search terms such as payday loans, insurance, and other heavily spammed queries. After multiple updates, payday has an individual search engine improvement focus separate from Panda, Penguin, and Hummingbird.


This algorithm change looks to power changes to semantic search. By looking at meanings behind web pages, not just exclusively individual words, Google was able to better focus searches. The goal of the update was to allow search engines to find a page by matching the meaning of the search rather than just a few select words.

July 2014-Pigeon

Google shook the local SEO world with an update that dramatically altered some local results and modified how they handle and interpret location cues. Due to the hyperlocal tightening of the algorithm, Google could refine searches to high-quality results in the proper area people are searching.

April 2015-Moblie Update

In an unprecedented move, Google revealed an update that would rank web pages differently if they were optimized for mobile use. Giving a boost to mobile friendly pages in Google’s mobile search was a change that altered how we all access information. Google has a first-rate tool to test your websites mobile capabilities now, to be sure you aren’t being penalized.

January 2017- Intrusive Interstitial Penalty

With a rare warning released 5 months before the update, Google created a penalty to punish aggressive interstitials and pop-ups that may damage the mobile user experience. These penalties only impact intrusive interstitials that happen coming directly from a Google mobile search.

what google seo strategy changes mean for you

While these updates may seem extensive, they are only going to continue to change. Maintaining your SEO strategy requires a diligence in what content you share, and how you share it. A key to rank well on Google is to have original, high-quality content but this isn’t everything. Although rules we follow today may change, being aware of these changes gives you an edge over your competitors.  Above all else, having a dedicated team to assist you will only benefit your business. As a leading SEO company, we make it our mission to stay on top of these updates.  Contact our experienced staff today to learn what we can do for your SEO strategy.



With a degree in Marketing Communications from Florida Atlantic University, Jessie is truly a creative thinker. She has a passion for customer service and a background in account-based marketing. Her goal is ensuring the utmost level of professionalism, creativity and support throughout your digital marketing experience.

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