Google algorithm changes occur far more frequently than most people realize, primarily because the only ones to make headlines are those that are considered major. On an annual basis, there are generally over 500 changes made to the Google algorithm, with a dozen or so being substantial enough or having such a widespread impact that industry analysts and experts detail them on a variety of websites relating to search engines, SEO, and the digital world in general.
When significant changes to the Google algorithm were initially released, it created quite a bit of havoc for web designers, site owners, and online marketers because they felt the changes were immensely detrimental to their quest for visibility in search queries and page rank results. In reality, most of the Google algorithm changes affect a small percentage of websites and online content, especially those which had already been designed to conform to existing SEO standards. Those who felt a substantial negative impact have typically been those who try to circumvent acceptable web design standards through the use of Black Hat SEO strategies or other unethical, illegal, or improper methods of web design.
Because there have been so many algorithm changes that have touched upon nearly all aspects of web design in some way or another, it often leaves one scratching their head in confusion and wondering “Why?” In other words, what is Google’s end game, and will it ever be definitively achieved?
Ultimately, Google is striving to provide users with an experience that is, in a nutshell, intuitive, relevant, and intelligent. Google algorithm changes have targeted spam, duplicate content, pirates, fluff, keyword-stuffing, and link baiting, among many other things. Long gone are the days of “exact match” search results because Google’s users search for information in ways too diverse to accommodate a universal exact match for identical queries around the globe. Web designers are now using geo-tagging for images, long-tail keywords and phrases, descriptive URLs, original and valuable content, and other strategies to try to keep pace with algorithm changes, which are likewise trying to keep pace with the demand of Internet users for search results that are hyper-relevant to their inquiries.
If you are using acceptable standards for your web design, the Google algorithm changes are no threat to your search positioning and page rank, and you’ll find yourself as a viable player in the game all the way to the end.