In our previous article, we discussed the indexing and crawling of websites and how that influences the search rankings that you come across daily.

Today, we’re discussing search engine Algorithms; what they are and how they work…

Of course, there’s a clever system behind the workings of SEO, which is known as a search engine algorithm.

Have you ever heard of Google Panda or Penguin? These systems are put in place to stop spam websites and sites with unlawful SEO practises from ranking on the top pages, but can unintentionally negatively affect genuine sites too, so it’s key to understand these changes and adapt to them.

Here’s a quick overview of the search engine algorithms from Google:

Google: Panda

Introduced in February 2011, Panda has been stopping sites with poor content from working their way up the search results in order to provide healthy results for the user.

Google: Top Heavy

Launched in January 2012, this prevents sites that are ‘top heavy’ with adverts from ranking well in their search listings. As with all of Google’s algorithms, it is periodically updated, which allows sites that have removed excessive ads to regain any lost rankings, whilst new sites with a high number of ads may get caught.

Google: Penguin

Google Penguin landed in April 2012 with the aim of catching sites deemed to be spamming search results through the use of buying links and also obtaining links through networks designed specifically to boost rankings. As with the other updates, websites that reverse their actions could expect to regain their rankings.

Google: Pirate

August 2012 saw the addition of Google’s Pirate update, which ultimately prevents sites with a number of copyright infringement reports from ranking well in their listings. Again, websites that ‘redeem’ themselves and ensure that their content is unique and legal could see their rankings improve.

Google: Exact Match Domain

Also launched in 2012, September this time, the EMD update filters poor quality sites from ranking well in search results simply because they have keywords in their domain name. For example, a website with the URL ‘” will have to feature quality, updated content in order to rank positively.

Google: Payday

Another day, another update… June 11, 2013 is the key date for this update, which targeted the cleansing of search results for traditional ‘junk’ terms like “payday loan” as well as pornographic sites, and other heavily spammed queries. So, you have Google to thank for your clean results!

Google: Hummingbird

September 2013 brought about the Hummingbird update, whose name comes from being ‘precise and fast’, which was designed to better focus on the meaning of the words entered. Because of this, Google’s search results pay more attention to the whole conversation, sentence, or meaning instead of particular words.

Google: Pigeon

Google launched the Pigeon update on July 24th 2014 for U.S English results in order to provide more accurate and relevant local search results, which also correlated more closely to traditional ranking signals. They have since commented that this algorithm improves the limits of distance and location rankings.

Google: Mobile Friendly Update

Mobilegeddon, as it was called across social networks and websites alike, was the update starting from April 21st 2015, which ensures that mobile friendly websites and pages are given a boost in Google’s search results.

So, now you know all about algorithms! This brings us nicely around to SEO practises, which we will cover in our next blog, so make sure you check back and in the meantime you can always contact us on 0161 213 9941 to discuss the best SEO for your website.

Cornerstone DM