The way people respond to updates for Google’s search results tends to resemble a children’s story. Specifically, that one about the chicken who believes the sky is falling, but in reality nothing bad has happened.
April 2010: Google Places
Google Places was ushered in to replace Google Local Business Center, and this aligned the search results for business names more closely with where they actually are. With this change, small local businesses to put themselves on Google Maps to gain page ranking popularity. Small businesses began to capitalize on SEO techniques that were location-based.
February 2011: Panda
The Panda update ushered in huge changes for SEO. No longer could content farms just crank out keyword lists to generate visits. The Panda updates shifted the effective strategy from quantity to quality. Since 2011, Panda has continued to be improved upon.
Last Update: Panda 4.1 (#27) — September 23, 2014
This was Panda’s 27th update, and it continued the tradition of weeding out low quality content. From the Google web masters themselves: “Based on user (and webmaster!) feedback, we’ve been able to discover a few more signals to help Panda identify low-quality content more precisely. This results in a greater diversity of high-quality small- and medium-sized sites ranking higher, which is nice.”
April 2012: Penguin
Penguin had a similar goal as Panda, which was to reward quality over keyword loaded nonsense. Penguin was designed to recognize repetitive content as well as the buying and selling of links.
Last Update: Well, “last update” is a bit of a misnomer. Since December of 2014, the penguin update has been in “everflux.” Meaning, that instead of large, infrequent updates, Penguin will be privy to frequent updates in response to SEO habits. As a result, the pressure to produce high quality content literally grows every day.
Mobile Update AKA “Mobilegeddon” — April 22, 2015
Google is now differentiating search results for mobile friendly sites when users search using their mobile devices. And this update is what prompted this article.
When Google announced that its mobile update was going to be rolling out on April 22nd, some bloggers made predictions that sounded fitting for the Book of Revelation. People predicted that because their sites weren’t necessarily optimized for mobile, they would lose virtually all of the traffic that originated through search engines. This radical change didn’t really happen, and that leads me to the real point.
People tend to overreact to certain types of change, and this is especially true when it comes to changes with how people interact with their beloved technology. We take comfort in our routines, so it’s natural to expect hesitance with every new update. But, the point of these updates is to refine and make something good into something that’s great. Each update rewards the kind of content that truly deserves it, which is something to embrace. For businesses that routinely produce high quality content, these Google updates are nothing to fear.