How Often Do Search Engines Update Their Algorithms?


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How often do the Search Engines update their algorithm or search equation?

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Search engines use algorithms that drive them to change constantly. While there is no set date or time, finding the general timeline of which algorithms are being worked on is available on Google’s site. In the beginning, Google made relatively few changes per year, but over time this has increased exponentially with thousands of new changes to the algorithms per year. 

That being said, understanding these algorithms and the weight they carry can change the way you market your business online. From ranking systems to analyzing content quality, knowing what the system is looking for allows you to refine your site and content for higher ranking potential. 

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What is an Algorithm?
 
An algorithm is simply a set of instructions given to the search system that tells it what to look for when scanning websites to identify where to place that website in the search results.

The word algorithm comes from a Greek word originally and simply means “number.”  Instructions to computers ultimately are given in numbers.

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Ranking Factors
 
When changes happen, ranking factors are usually the main things to be hit. Many algorithmic changes will hit your ability to reach the top ranks. 

A few years ago, for example, ranking simply by repeatedly using keywords in your content was simple enough. Compared to today, when you can only have a few keywords and you must have structured, informative content for the keywords to be seen as valuable. 

Fortunately, when you know what the Google system is looking for, you can tailor your site to match those requirements. 

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Varying Changes
 
Many types of changes come into play when dealing with these intricate systems. Often the changes will impact one small action at a time, with only some algorithms impacting the entire system. These changing ranking elements will impact the value of components like product reviews and passage ranking. 

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The change to mobile focus has been a major aspect of ranking that has required many businesses to refine their site space. This change meant that mobile-optimized sites were more valuable to users, and as such, to Google. Page experience was another influencing change that ensures that content needs to be valuable rather than just present. 

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Significant Updates
 
Major updates must always be understood, as these elements will change how the system works. These will often happen less regularly than smaller updates but require everyone online to refocus their content. The most notable change of this nature would be the value of keywords, moving from a required presence to a strategically placed element. 

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Previously you could push thirty keywords into an article, and Google would see it as a relevant blog. Today that would be considered keyword stuffing and do more damage than good. You need to limit and place these phrases to have the most impact, based on total appearances per total word count. 

Some examples of the major changes Google has made over the years are listed here. (Keep in mind the names are made up by mad technologists)

  • Florida
  • Big Daddy
  • Jagger
  • Vince
  • Caffeine
  • Panda
  • Freshness Algorithm
  • Page Layout Algorithm
  • Venice Update

  • Penguin
  • EMD (Exact Match Domain)
  • Payday
  • Hummingbird
  • Pigeon
  • Mobilegeddon
  • Quality Updates
  • RankBrain
  • Fred

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While these names rarely tell you much about the changes, SEO experts need to learn and know what those changes are all about. This constantly changing environment is one of the main reasons to hire an expert to run your SEO campaign, rather than bogging yourself down in all the never-ending details. 

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Search engines and the algorithms that drive them are constantly changing, but when you work with professionals who understand these changes, you can always keep ahead of the rest of the industry. 

With the insight you need to drive your business, you can have more impact on your audience. 

——————
Search engines and the algorithms that drive them can change constantly. Knowledge of these changes can impact your search results, making it vital to track them and have the insight you need to drive your business. 

Contact me today to find out more about these systems. 

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Louie Pateropoulos
louie@ditcanada.com
Book your free Strategy Chat with Senior Partner,
Louie Pateropoulos.

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