Google’s algorithm updates about 500-600 times a year. According to Gary Illyes, there are three updates a day, on average. The updates used to be every few months, but they have gradually increased to a few per month. Google’s core algorithm has been changed 9 times in the last two years.
Why are all these changes necessary?
Google focuses on pushing websites with the highest quality content to the top ranking spots for user searches. Each update or core change works to eliminate sites that may slip through loopholes in previous software. Those sites representing many from the “black hat” community that are ad junkies, focused on revenue, and redirecting sites for the top number of hits.
What are Google updates?
“As Google collects fresh data and refreshes its algorithms, sites drop or gain. And if you’ve been pushing the limits from a user experience standpoint, good luck.” (Gabe, 2017)
“From a user experience standpoint” referring to sites that do not focus on providing quality content to consumers but instead focus on things like gaining revenue from ads.
Quality, Quality, Quality
The Panda update, one of the earlier, but more focused, core updates hit low quality, keyword-stuffed sites. Glenn Gabe of gsqi.com explained the point this update, and others, saying, “…major core ranking updates focused on quality. For example, sites dropping in rankings when their content couldn’t really live up to user expectations.” Gary Illyes explains the Panda update in more depth in this video.
The most recent update, unconfirmed by Google and nicknamed “Fred”, also “hit low-valued content sites aimed at revenue generation over the goal of helping their users and readers.” (Schwartz, 2017)
While it is an officially unconfirmed update, there were shifts in search results that could only be attributed to a new algorithmic update. Many who reported shifts or decrease in site ranking came from the “black hat” SEO community, showcasing that Google is focused on presenting the best possible user experience.