How Google Algorithm Updates Affect SEO


We’ve all been there: You’ve got your SEO strategy all smoothed out and running the way you want, and then something goes wrong. It may start out small and grow in strength day by day, or it can be one of those changes that brings everything crashing down around you right away. Without a doubt, Google has just updated their algorithm.

Since 2011, Google’s updates have affected as low as 4% of overall queries to as high as 90% of overall queries with its hardcore “Hummingbird” update in 2013.

While some updates such as 2014’s “Pigeon” only affect certain industries, others are across the board and the best way to keep any SEO expert on their toes.

A Little History

Active since year 2000, Google has been updating as it goes to make searching simpler and more accurate for browsers. As Google evolves, so does SEO. An industry based entirely on getting search engines to notice websites, SEO experts learn to roll with the punches.

Since 2016, there have been nine updates, all which have done a little or a lot to the SEO landscape.

  • January 8, 2016: Core search ranking update
  • February 23, 2016: AdWords paid search update
  • May 12, 2016: Rank signal boost based on mobile-friendliness
  • September 1, 2016: Drop in local pack relevance and a large impact on organic results
  • September 23, 27 and October 6: The three-phase release of Penguin 4.0 devaluing bad links cracking down on low-quality SEO
  • January 10, 2017: Major crack-down update on pop-ups and unwanted content
  • March 8, 2017: Major update continuing crack-down on low-value content sites

The prevailing pattern that carries through all of these updates, is a focus on quality over quantity.

Time is Money

If you work with SEO, or work with an SEO company, you may be interested in knowing how these Google algorithm updates directly effect productivity and expenditure.

Major updates can add an extra nine hours to the 40-hour work week upon unveiling, worth approximately $1,242 per employee.

In some cases—31% to be exact—update interruptions can cause SEOs to lose clients. And, while situations like this have 27% of SEOs considering quitting the industry, only 1% of them actually do.

Keeping on Top of Updates

If you want to keep on top of Google updates as they are released, there are a multitude of websites that will let you know the current SEO climate.

SEO is a tough industry, and if you are a business owner considering jumping in with both feet, you might want to think twice. By working with companies such as LinkNow Media, you can save yourself time and money by letting a highly experienced team take over.

And for all you SEOs out there—hang tight. By paying attention to trends such as quality over quantity, you can predict what Google is going to focus on over time and keep your SEO at the top of its game.


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