Google Panda, Penguin, Hummingbird: what does it mean for brands?
As a search engine, Google has 90% of market share worldwide and 92% in Europe and France (StatCounter figures, December 2014). Following and understanding the updates to the most popular algorithm on the web is crucial for brands. Below is everything you need to know about the Google Panda, Penguin, and Hummingbird updates.
Google Panda: hunting duplicate content
Targeted websites — First deployed in the US in February 2011, Google Panda was hunting down content farms—those “spinning” sites that created duplicate content on a massive scale. The subsequent update then spread to news aggregators (such as Digg or Wikio) that compiled third-party content without creating or generating duplicate content. In general, the update aims to penalize all forms of poor quality or low value-added content.
How to guard against penalties — Create unique, good quality content with high value for users.
Google Penguin: announcing the death of link building
Targeted websites — Unlike Google Panda, Google Penguin penalized external SEO bad practices, or off-site SEO abuses. This included artificial net-linking and artificial backlinks, as Virgil Juhan reminds us in the Journal Du Net.
How to guard against penalties — Focus on link earning instead of link building by editorializing brand communication through the publication of relevant premium content that is created for the brand’s target audience and within its digital ecosystem.
Google Hummingbird: on the way to semantic analysis
Targeted websites — Google Hummingbird is more than a simple update; it is a major overhaul of the algorithm that aims to evolve from a keyword-based ranking system towards a true semantic analysis of pages and queries. This is a real breakthrough that gives an edge to websites with an authentic thematic, at the expense of pages artificially constructed based on set keywords.
How to guard against penalties — Set aside the old telegraph approach that aims to meet the requirements of search engine robots in favor of conversational communication that meets users’ interests.
In terms of SEO, Google’s direction is very clear: continue improving the relevance of search results for users. This is a process that tends to penalize abusive SEO practices and reward the creation of quality content—all good news for media brands.