Like the release of the Bible’s Seven Seals, Google announced the release of new algorithms in 2013 to police online content. Known in the technology world as the Hummingbird, or Panda 2.0, Google created these unique tools and others included to penalize spammers and low-quality content providers, including websites and blog operators that violated Google’s Webmaster rules using manipulative tactics to score undeserved search engine rankings. Such tactics allow websites or blogs to automatically appear on “first page results” when an internet user makes a query search.
Google is also using the latest algorithms to target link bombers, anchor text, content mills, and doorway pages. Doorway pages are designed to attract search engine traffic against web rules.
Internet users eager to purchase products or services as well as readers seeking news stories often click on “site links” that instantly appear on first page results. Sites appearing on “first or second page” of a powerful search engine like Google can make the difference whether a site makes money or attracts readership interested in Google Ads or sponsored products. How much these changes affect website ranking still remains to be seen, but many online site owners say they have already seen a noticeable drop in search engine traffic. Google’s announcement that the new algorithms, like Hummingbird, would affect a site’s ranking by reducing a site’s page rank based on content quality set off a firestorm among online businesses and news media websites. Todd Fratzer, who runs a Home Construction Improvement blog said he used to rank around number #3 along with other experts in his industry, but now, Fratzer says, “I am ranked number #6 alongside people who write horrible english and 85% of what they write is crap!” Alan Gray, the editor and host of Newsblaze.com, a prominent U.S. National and International website, reflects on the decrease in traffic for his site. “The new algorithms appear to have a negative impact on us. For the first time ever; Bing traffic now exceeds Google traffic, and Google traffic is almost low as Yahoo.”
Announcing the algorithms’ release, a Google press released stated. “Our recent update is designed to reduce ranking for low-quality sites, so the key thing for Webmasters to do is make sure their sites are the highest quality possible.”
Still, many don’t really understand why their sites have been placed further back on Google search results. Marketing expert Ron Stauffer writes on his Infront Webwork blog, “Sometimes potential clients come to Infront for internet marketing and they’ll say; ‘I need help with my website. I can’t understand what happened. My website used to be number #one, and now it isn’t anymore – I didn’t make any changes.'”
The Google press release further stated. “Many of the changes we make are so subtle, very few people notice them.” (This may not be true). “But we launched a pretty big algorithmic improvement to our ranking – a change that noticeably impacts 11.8%, and we wanted to let people know what’s going on.” One major change the new algorithms like the Hummingbird, Penguin and Panda 2.0 have made is the fact Google will now use less query-based keywords to retrieve database information, but instead focus more on longer natural-sounding words. – Google Algorithm Change History
Example: A user may type this query into Google’s search bar, “Where can I buy the latest Air Jordan sneakers or tennis shoes?” The previous search engine (without recent new algorithms installed) would focus more on the words “buy sneakers or tennis.” And the results would produce e-commerce sites that targeted the keywords “buy and sneakers,” but readily ignored the other query terms.
Thanks to the almighty Hummingbird, the bird will laser focus the intent behind the query, and will direct searches to Air Jordan’s e-commerce sites with the latest Jordans on display. Periodically Google will change algorithms to keep people from exploiting loopholes to game the system.
So how much do we really know about these new algorithms?
Here are 7 algorithms that every online business, expert or author should know about, and how to adapt with these systems to succeed in their industry.
(1) Google Authorship:
Two years ago, Google’s Authorship program steadily grew in popularity by displaying photo headshots of authors and content publishers in search results. To display your profile photo, it only took a simple sign-up. Since December 19th 2013, Google reduced large numbers of author photos, although some profile photos still appear periodically in search results.
The only exception in the eyes of Google are posts from Google-+, so this should not surprise you. Announcing the new Authorship program, a Google spokesman, said, “We made some minor updates. We had been showing authors information whenever we could based on authorship markup, email verification, and other signals of authorship on the web.”
The spokesman further explained that in mid-December, “We rolled out new algorithms designed to show author’s photos where they more likely to be relevant and interesting.” The algorithms, according to the Google spokesman, now try to estimate the quality of documents an author typically writes.
For maximum effect when using WordPress, Google news release describes how this mechanism works, with the new algorithm changes. If someone uses their authorship for a WordPress-based site that uses the Yoast’s SEO (Search Engine Optimization) for WordPress plug-in, the default setting is turned on for posts, pages and media, but Google recommends that WordPress users use the Authorship program on posts only.
With reduction ranging from 3-15%, it seem that low quality sites and blogs are being punished more than content marketers. The difference here is: an author or content marketing publisher may discover their headshot photo appearing on results on quality sites, but not on lower-authority pages.
So what does it mean for 2014 content creators? There’s no clear-cut proof that poor quality content affects individual reputations in the eyes of Google, but, with the recent algorithm changes this could happen in 2014. According to Google Matt Cutts, authorship should be a tool to gauge “the quality of the author.”
Cautionary advice: make sacrifices to produce the best effective content you are capable of, and Google will most likely not reduce legitimate frequency for your authorship to disappear.
(2) Knowledge Graph Expansion:
When news broke in July 2013 about the release of Google’s Knowledge Graph Expansion, this system exploded by 50% overnight. A graph expansion is designed as a unique search function that introduces additional information about common queries in a sidebar. Pictured below is a sample Knowledge Graph entry for writer Alfred Hitchcock.
What does Knowledge Graph Mean For 2014 Content Creators?
At this point in the game, the Knowledge Graph serves only as a resource for common searches. As it gradually expands, this means it will include future branded products and services. So prepare for this new launch to be extended to your industry and make sure your content extends to valuable website pages.
Google made a big news splash in August 2013, after the release of the powerful Hummingbird Algorithm. Hummimgbird’s main focus involves the Semantic Search, a process of natural language programmed to define the future for content creators. Search engines are more adept at determining the meaning behind every string of words that web users type into a search bar. Of course, it may take a few more words before algorithms are sophisticated enough to determine exact match behind every single query, but Google’s Hummingbird is poised to take on the challenge.
Hummingbird built-in Semantic Search can even decipher naturalistic or conversational search terms – which often are long-tail words.
How will it work in 2014?
Content creators and specialized marketers will find the Hummingbird power to be an untapped goldmine. It is important we should know Google’s ever-changing systems are more sophisticated by the minute in determining whether someone’s search query is transactional, research-oriented, or comparative.
What does this mean?
Your product or service can truly shine if you’re able to map your content creation to every stage of the sales funnel. Therefore, if your competitors fail to create content that fulfills consumer needs, your site or blog will soar to the top.
For more information on this subject, Google the following: “Does your content neglect the middle of the marketing tunnel?”
(4) Asking Google Questions:
Internet consumers these days are frequently using mobile devices to search online for information and shopping bargains. The inquiries are usually limited to asking specific questions entered into the search bar or a string of related words. For instance, a consumer may Google “best car rental deals,” but these days highly educated consumers may search “What are the best car rental deals in my area?”
What does this really mean for 2014? Keywords entered into a Google search are still pretty effective, but guess what? Google is more adept at identifying the meaning behind queries and returning results that provide useful information, not just showing an exact match related to a string of words.
Bottom Line: marketers and content creators must now shift their thinking beyond creating 500 words of contents centered around around a heavily searched key phrase, to explaining details in your content that readers and potential customers are deeply concerned about – or something they want to know in-depth. By doing this, you will gain much more benefit from a thorough, well-research article, that addresses certain needs or answers a question, than you will if you inject keywords perfectly into your content 15 or 20 times.
(5) Keyword System:
The news sounded like a Tsunami explosion when internet marketers discovered on September 23rd 2013, that Google’s Keyword data targeting query searches which in turn drove traffic to websites dramatically changed. This rollout change caused a major shift for marketers who’d been relying heavily on this method to reel in customers through word search.
How will this affect content creators in 2014?
Marketers will often use the technique of blogging metrics to apply actionable intelligence to rely on – like traffic sources and social shares. Apply bold steps to delve into historical metrics to test the success of your content based on consumer behavior.
(6) Google’s In-Depth Articles Produced:
When Google released the In-Depth Article creation in August 2013, it became an instant hit with internet users.
The value here is: When someone types a subject query, they are now able to utilize different options to explore recommended reading on a chosen topic. In-depth articles are generally awarded to sites with very high authority, so Google now recommends including Authorship and Schema markups to improve someone’s chance of being selected for this format.
Here’s how it should work in 2014: Learn how to master the technique of applying the Schema markup to your XML sitemap this year because your content may score a top spot among in-depth article results.
(7) Panda 2.0 Rewards Niche Expertise:
How would you like Google to reward your specialized knowledge in a particular field or industry? Well check this out. Although Google’s algorithm affected 2-3% of search results in May 2013, this snag didn’t come anywhere close to Google’s Hummingbird system that punished spammers and rewarded sites showing a high degree of expertise. Look at it this way: Niche expertise was directly linked to in-depth content.
A previous Panda version aimed at downranking websites that provided poor user experiences also helped Google to determine the quality of a website or blog.
What does this really mean for 2014?
With billions of information pages scattered across the internet, your articles, ebooks, e-newsletters, including marketing and sales content may not benefit from less than well-written pieces that your competitors already covered first. You’ll get a big edge over competitors by fully researching in-demand topics, find a unique spin, which differentiates how you provide valuable information.
Overall, don’t fear change. Adjusting to change in the Internet world is key to the survival of your business. Google’s new rules can only motivate content providers like yourself to produce much better and effective work in your industry.
So stay the course. Even life is about change.