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Google Hummingbird &15 Years of Google

Google LogoGoogle is one of the worlds biggest search engines and companies in the world. The search engine that started in a garage is now a world wide phenomenon with millions of people using Google as their search engine of choice. Over the years Google have expanded. After predominately being a search engine the company started to branch out offering pictures, and shopping ideas. Google have now bought Youtube and have rights to the worlds biggest video sharing website on the internet. There is no doubt that Google have succeeded and achieved what they set out to do. However, the big question now is maintaining improvement. Google have recently started their new social media channel labelled Google plus. This has been fairly disappointing for Google, and although it has become a tool for many businesses, the social media channel falls short of social media kingpins Facebook and Twitter. Google have also recently launched their Google drive program, which enables businesses to store and share a variety of different data. This has helped businesses across the world as all the data available to them is stored on Google drive.

Google are also known for the great treatment of their staff. Google provide on site doctors to their staff to ensure that all staff are treated when sick, Google also provide their staff with Japanese Toto toilets which ensure that all staff is clean and fresh after they have visited the toilet. Google are also big on water-sports and give their staff the opportunity to swim in the mini pools that are on Google’s site. The mini pools include one of Google’s lab pools where the pools waves are manipulated and act as a water treadmill, where you can swim for hours. Google also offer the conference bike where employees have to work together in order to get the bike to move. This provides an excellent team building exercise as well as providing the staff with a lot of fun. Google also offer their staff free food around the world famous Goolgeplex. Here staff are able to eat at the cafeteria free of charge which is also a massive perk for all employees. The only food that costs money at the Googlplex is the vending machines where Google have incorporated a competitive pricing system where the more unhealthy the food, the higher the price. This is to ensure that employees don’t get fat and eat healthier. Google also offer free haircuts to employees. This is an excellent perk as staff can get their hair cut free of charge by a variety of mobile hairdressers. Google also have a ball pit on site. Here members of the staff are able to jump into the ball pit and have a lot of fun in the process. As you can see Google think highly of their employees that has resulted in higher productivity levels for the business.

Recently Google celebrated their birthday by offering the world an interactive Google Doodle that allowed for users to take part in an interactive pinnate game. However, Google also announced the Hummingbird update as part of their birthday plans. The Google Hummingbird update has chnged the search engines algorithm which has brought changes and allowed Google to handle “Conversational searches” which enables more accurate searches on complex queries. Google Hummingbird also embraces the use of mobile usage which is expected to overtake desktop in two years time. Hummingbird also presents a new change in Googles old method of keyword searches. The Keyword search ignored the use of certain words, however, now Google Hummingbird takes into account a wide variety of different words in order to get the best search possible. Google Hummingbird’s main focus is the context of different words and how they link together, this algorithm makes Google searches a lot more accurate and efficient.

This evolution has also raised the question of SEO’s part and if it really is dead. However, this is not the case as the new algorithm has ensured that those who are willing to put effort in will reap the rewards. Page specification is also included kin the Google update and instead of taking you to a website’s home page, google are committed to taking their users to the exact page. This means less clicks and better efficiency. Google have also put a lot of emphasis on the quality of the sites on their rankings. The top ranked websites will need to have quality written content both on and off the pages so users can not only see a page but provide links. Website owners will have to find out ways of implementing new content but do it in such a way that make them authoritative amongst search engines and readers.

Overall, the Google Hummingbird update is a positive and has made searching a lot easier and more effective than t has been before. It is clear that Google are wanting to promote more detailed content. Website owners will have to incorporate this into their sites in order to achieve higher rankings in Google. Google are one of the biggest companies in the world and have come a long way from starting in a garage. Google believe in treating their staff right and have excellent values. The Hummingbird update has made searching for a website easier as the whole of a users search is taken into consideration, not just the keywords. Google will want to continually grow over the next few years and will definitely look to expand as they have already done with Google Mail and Google Drive.

Penguin 2.0 Update

It’s official, Google have released the latest Penguin. This is the fourth Penguin-related launch Google has done, this is an updated algorithm not just a data refresh (the process Google uses to refresh the data within the algorithm). The first update shook the Internet, literally. Webmasters had to re-invent themselves and embrace content marketing.

We have had more than enough time to prepare for the next generation of Penguin. Back on May 10 Google’s Matt Cutts said on Twitter, “we do expect to roll out Penguin 2.0 (next generation of Penguin) sometime in the next few weeks though.” For those who are worried Cutts has said that “About 2.3% of English-US queries are affected to the degree that a regular user might notice. The change has also finished rolling out for other languages world-wide. The scope of Penguin varies by language, e.g. languages with more webspam will see more impact.”

This update specifically targets black hat spam and will be more intensive than version 1 of Penguin. Spammers and black hat SEOs should be worried. If you’ve been focusing on quality content, the user, and haven’t participated in black hat techniques, then there is no need to fear the update.

Penguin v 2.0 is an algorithm update. A data refresh is the process Google uses to refresh the data within the algorithm. An index update is simply the seamless and day to day operation that refreshes or updates the index. It used to be quite noticeable, but now it’s relatively seamless.

Previous Penguin Updates

Each release of Penguin has been named in sequential order:

Penguin 1 on April 24, 2012 (impacting ~3.1% of queries)
Penguin 2 on May 26, 2012 (impacting less than 0.1%)
Penguin 3 on October 5, 2012 (impacting ~0.3% of queries)
Penguin 4 on May 22, 2013 (impacting 2.3% of queries)

Google Panda Updates: Version 24

Despite strongly denying significant reports of an imminent update, Google has ploughed ahead with another Panda update. Version 24 was uploaded yesterday, 22nd January, and was confirmed by Google when they tweeted,

“New Panda data refresh rolling out today: 1.2% of English queries affected. Background goo.gl/8Zqy1

Version 23 saw 1.3% of English queries affected 21st December 2012, and the previous update before this was in November 2012. It seems as though Google are pushing out Panda updates every four weeks or so now. Google’s response? Continue to develop high-quality sites and content rather than trying to crack the code of algorithm. Some sites are still trying to keep up with the algorithm, but if the updates are as often as every month, you will only suffer in the long term. Whilst Google Panda is one of the most well-known and high-spec uploads affecting search engine rankings, it is on average just 1 in 500 improvements rolled out each year.

So it seems to be in with standing a chance against the constant improvements of Panda, the main adjustments will need to come from your site. The need to create and maintain high-quality sites and content will help boost your site in the search engine rankings and push low and poor quality listings, further down the pages. Google has previously said that it thinks more sites should concentrate more on developing the best possible user and customer experience, rather than just having a site for having a site’s purpose.

Whilst Google claim that the Panda updates are to help sites in SEO terms, it has affected a large amount of sites across the globe. More and more people are being hit hard by the updates and are now having to fill in more and more DMCA reports. This is when other sites in the same / similar field simply copying the information you have spent the time and energy and in a lot of cases, money, into writing and SEO proofing your pages, and pasting it onto their own.

It seems a shame that these sites are being pulled for plagiarism, as this certainly wouldn’t stand at university or even school level. So what makes the internet any different? Once thing is for sure, we will never get to the bottom of that question, but for the meantime it looks as though we will have to continue to pour resources into the highest quality web design, copywriters and data analysts to keep an eye on the future affects of Google Panda.

Google Penguin

Last month Google released a new webspam algorithm called Penguin that has the World Wide Web in a bit of a tizzy. Designed to help stop websites that violate its quality guidelines, Penguin has made many previously high-ranking websites disappear from search engine results. If your site has been affected by the Penguin update there are some steps you can take to get your site back up and running.

Penguin is an automated algorithm, there are no humans involved in its decision making once it was turned on, and because of this Google are apparently not planning on making any manual exceptions. If your site has been hit with Penguin the best thing you can do is review your content to ensure it meets Google’s guidelines. Check your messages at Google Webmaster Central, if they’ve contacted you about spam before then their emails will flag the issues you need to correct. You can also leave feedback through Google’s Webmaster forum if you feel you’ve been incorrectly affected. Remember, Google introduced this algorithm to help searchers find the best websites for their criteria, their priority is the searchers, so if you leave additional comments be sure to explain how your site provides unique and relevant content for searchers (and then make sure it actually does) rather than talk about how much business you’ve lost.

If you’re not sure if Penguin has affected your site, take a look at your traffic logs. Penguin went live on April 24th, so if you saw a drop in traffic after that then it’s likely you’ve been hit. If you’ve seen a rise, congratulations, you’ve benefitted. And if there was no change then Penguin had no real impact on you.

The algorithm is looking for websites that have a disproportionately large number of links in its content, in other words, link over-optimised sites. Make sure the links you use are from websites or domains in the same niche, not all of them need to be but there do need to be links relevant to your subject matter included in the mix. In essence, Google is looking for websites that offer relevant and useful information to its users, and is devaluing anchor text links while replacing it with niche relevant links as a means to guarantee quality. Ensuring your website meets those criteria will help keep it’s rank in their search results and minimise any affect Penguin may have on your business.