There’s been a lot of activity with Google algorithm updates recently and over the past year. Whilst these Google updates can be immensely complicated Google is simply trying to do what it does best. That is it tries to provide searchers with the best and most relevant information that they need, matching searches with websites that provide the relevant information.

These updates can affect your website search engine results rankings. You may have heard the terms Google Panda, Google Penguin, Hummingbird and the Google Payday Loan algorithm updates.

These algorithm updates look at many, in fact sometimes hundreds of different factors in order to rank websites. So what do the most recent Google updates all mean? Well here’s a very basic, straightforward guide as to what they are about. The explanations below are very much simplified and designed not to overwhelm you with technical details, just to provide a basic understanding of what’s been happening and what could be affecting your website search engine results page rankings.

Google’s Payday Loan algorithm

This is the most recent of Google algorithm updates (v2.0) and has been occurring over recent weeks (the first version v1.0 was announced around 12-months ago). According to “the Guru” at Google Matt Cutts advised that it targeted spammy type websites. The information surrounding this update remains “unelaborated on.” The Payday Loan algorithm targets search queries such as “viagra”, “casinos”and other keywords that are often targeted by spammers. Unfortunately, Google (as they often do) does not explain what this means in detail.

SEO-services-melbourneGoogle Panda and Google Penguin

The Panda algorithm targets websites with low quality content. For example, the Panda algorithm makes sure that web pages with automatically created or very shallow content don’t get high rankings in Google’s search results. This also applies to such things as duplicated content, the same or similar pages, or blog articles utilising very similar or slight variations of keywords, whereas the Penguin algorithm targets website that get artificial links. Links are important to your website, in a way they are like a positive vote for your site ~ that is provided they are relevant and respected. The Penguin algorithm targets website that get artificial links, for example it may penalize websites that are linked with paid links. In many cases these paid links have no relevance to the linking website. Overall Google doesn’t like links from automated linking schemes and this is not encouraged for quality search engine optimisation, whereas good quality relevant links are generally positive for a website.


The Hummingbird algorithm’s goal was for Google to better understand a user’s search query and subsequently provide the user with the most relevant results. There is some speculation that changes were necessary in order for Google’s voice search to be more effective, that is being able to interpret what the user is actually asking or searching for. For example if someone searches for say, “Best place for a family lunch in Ringwood, ” Hummingbird is able to interpret that by “place” the user would most likely be interested in results that show “restaurants.”

What does this all mean for my website?

The Internet is becoming increasingly competitive and complex. Websites and their content are really a ‘living, evolving, active being.’ All websites should be regularly reviewed and updated, the focus should be on creating the best website possible for users. Google’s goal is to deliver the best answers to people who are searching. If you can produce regular, up-to-date relevant content, as well as content that answers people’s search queries and questions, refrain from using unscrupulous SEO tactics, avoid buying links, conduct positive link building and invest in quality SEO services then you’re on the right track to good search engine results page rankings.

Have you experienced any drops or increases in rankings? Let us know by commenting below.