Google announced its newest broad core update for September 2022! This came shortly after the helpful content update and just a little before the Search-On Press Meeting In other words, Google is busy being innovative and giving the search engine market something else they have to try and compete with.
Google Core Updates
Google has plenty of updates that come out quite regularly but Google has only made 7 broad core updates. These updates are known to shake up how a brand's presence is represented on its search engine in one way or another. Not keeping up with these core updates could be the reason a website that’s ranked number one in every primary keyword is not performing well in search results. The result is that within weeks they’d be hard to find on the 8th page of Google. So before we get into the Helpful Content Core Update, let’s talk about the previous updates.
Google Florida Update
This was one of the first major core updates from Google that was released in November 2003. This update made a major change in how Google portrayed backlinks and the value they had to the website. It was meant to stop a lot of retail websites from keyword stuffing, using hidden links, and invisible text to gain higher rankings.
Google Jagger Update
This update was released in September 2005. This update made it possible for Google to search more in-depth with websites and find things like PDFs and other document and file types. This update also gave penalties to websites for having toxic backlinks which were paid backlinks, unnatural backlinks, linking schemes, and scraped content. This update was followed by the Big Daddy Update which was released in December 2005. It wasn’t as major for the website's ranking but it was an upgrade that Google had done to vastly increase their data centers which in turn helped improve the quality and technical aspects of improved search results.
Google Vince Update
This update was released in January 2009 and was meant to give established brands in the outside world a better opportunity to compete with smaller businesses that were optimizing their online presence more than their brick-and-mortar stores and locations.
Google Caffeine Update
This update was rolled out to speak on the new indexing system that Google created to have their crawl bots search and store data at a much more efficient rate. To be specific Google developers were quoted to say “Caffeine provides 50% percent fresher results for web searches”.
Google Panda Update
In February 2011, a huge core update was released Called Panda. This update was released to reward all the blogs and websites that had unique and great-quality work on their sites. This is when Google started officially giving websites a quality score and ranking the websites based upon this internal score they were giving. It gave brands and businesses all over who took the time to create quality work, a brand new outlook and a chance to outrank those who just had notoriety or had been copying good content and pasting it in various places. There was also another update released in November of 2011 that was called the Google Freshness Update. It was focused on making more recent search results able to be found and seen over articles and news that were dated.
Google Penguin Update
There were a lot of updates in 2012, in October, the Penguin Update was released.
This update was made to target “black-hat practices” in various areas. Link stuffing, spam links, link directories, etc. Basically, Google gave a statement that said black-hat techniques were any techniques used that didn’t benefit the users and the intent is to look for shortcuts or loopholes that would rank pages higher than they deserve to be ranked. This is when the links and their anchor text were under a much finer magnifying glass to find out who’s using these techniques just to rank. Some other updates that year include the Exact Match Domain Update where Google cracked down on websites that were using keywords as their domains to help to rank. The Venice update was used to take users’ IP addresses or physical locations and use them to increase Google Map appearances based on those organic search results. Also known as the birth of local SEO. Then there was the Page Layout Update which focused on ensuring that websites didn’t show ads above the fold and instead showed ads where they were meant to be shown which is lower in the page.
Google Hummingbird Update
This update was released in September of 2013 and it was used essentially to make the search engine more human. Hummingbird took a lot of sentence structure into account to better understand what people were searching for more than just taking the words at face value. This was a big jump in the search engine market and made searching for things more personal and easy for a lot of users. There was also the Pay Day Loan Update which was another crackdown on users who were using spammy links and directories for websites. This wasn’t big for the US but it did impact a lot of other countries where these problems were more rampant.
Google Pigeon Update
The Pigeon update was another step in the local SEO direction from the Venice update. The Pigeon Update was released July 2014 and was used to release a local algorithm that was meant to help local businesses that have a strong organic traffic following with a better SERP ranking as a reward. This helped users get a better understanding of what truly was local around them, that had something to do with the search query they were looking for.
Google Mobilegeddon Update
By this time and age it was understood by Google and most of the world that we all carry mini-computers in our pockets and we’re using them as such. The app market is exploding, cell phones are being released by companies that were never in the mobile market, and cell phone carrier plans were in abundance. The mobilegeddon update was released in April 2015 and made mobile-friendly websites or responsive websites a topic of conversation by giving them priority over websites that weren’t optimized for mobile devices. This was another step in the direction of Google being more human-friendly. They wanted users to have better experiences with the results that were showing up on the top pages and that meant having a website that functioned well and looked good whether it was Desktop, Tablet, or Mobile. In October 2015, there was also a Google update called RankBrain. This update was released as an extension to the Hummingbird update in the idea that it was a machine-learning aspect that was implemented in Google’s algorithm. Rank Brain’s goal was to understand the intent of Google searches more, and less about the words that were specifically put in the search bar.
Google Intrusive Interstitials Update
This long-winded update called Intrusive Interstitials was released January 2017 and was created to penalize websites that were creating spammy ads and popups and other things that were getting in the way of users being able to see the content they were looking for.
Google Medic Update
The Google Medic Update was released August 2018 and from what most people understand, it was meant to help take low-quality pages off of higher rankings but since it affected so many hospitals and clinics, the community coined the term Medic Update even though it wasn’t targeted or meant to harm that industry at all. Another update released that year was the Mobile-First Indexing Update in March 2018. This update was another step in saying that responsiveness is the future. The update allows Google bots to give a higher ranking based on the mobile page experience and not the desktop page experience. Google says this was done as a way to “better help our – primarily mobile – users find what they're looking for.”
Google BERT Update
Google BERT Update - The Google BERT Update was used to double up on the Rank Brain update but not replace it, but an add-on. The BERT (Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers) Update was meant to understand at an even deeper level what users are searching for based on the nuances of the sentence and not just on the phrasing of the search to understand the clarity of questions and search queries. This was also the same year they released the Featured Snippets Update in August 2019 which gave an even more human-friendly way to portray information to users with news, blogs, and time-based information like events and TV shows.
Google Helpful Content Update
The newest Google core update is the Google Helpful Content Update. This update was used once more to become a little more human. No one likes reading copied articles with the same information over and over so the Helpful Content update is meant to stop that. They’re rewarding the blogs, sites, and post authors with higher ranking capabilities due to having unique and high-quality work. This to many users seemed like exactly what it was called, a helpful update, but in reality, it’s an attack on the SEO industry and those who use black-hat techniques to over-saturate pages with repetitive quality work for ranking. This update is meant to not only lower the ranking of those posts and blogs but penalize the entire site for using these techniques. It’s a stern warning to those who are still trying to find ways to trick the algorithm that Google has spent over a decade polishing. Of course, things will fall through the cracks but being that Google owns over 90% of the entire search engine market, I think it’s safe to say that their ideas to create a more human-friendly search engine are far from over.
Google Updates and Search Engine Optimization
Google updates happen pretty regularly through the years and with all of the technological advances, I can't foresee them slowing down. If you're looking for help with your search engine optimization or even search engine marketing to create a better presence on Google, contact us and we'll do our best to grow your business and the company's brand awareness!