The Effect of Constant Algorithm Changes on Google | The Good, The Bad & the Not So Ugly

Jill Conway


January 22, 2021 (Updated: May 4, 2023)

Algorithm change isometric flat vector conceptual illustration.

Working in marketing means that you’ve probably experienced one or two Google algorithm updates that have rocked your world. Whether it was the creation of Google Panda, Google Penguin, or Google Hummingbird that changed your marketing strategy, we all know the painful woes of relying on Google for a successful marketing campaign. One major pain point with many marketers is the frequency of changes to the algorithm behind Google

Algorithm change isometric flat vector conceptual illustration.

Here is a brief history of Google explained: 

  • 2001: Google Hummingbird was introduced to remove irrelevant content from the results pages.
  • 2011: Google Panda was created to rid the search engine results page of duplicated or plagiarized content. 
  • 2012: Google Penguin was introduced, which sifted sites that had backlinks to spams and irrelevant sites.
  • 2014: Google Pigeon was used to bring local searches to the top of the SERP. 
  • 2015: Mobilegeddon added a more mobile-friendly interface to Google. 
  • 2017: Google Fred was introduced to remove any low-quality websites that did not have useful information on them.

The Good – 

Though many workers in the SEO field have complained about the frequency of these updates, they are created for good reason and have made our search engine results pages much more useful. Though these updates to the algorithm might have caused you some headaches over the years, if you continue to add useful information to your website on a regular basis, you will see the fruits of your labor. Google’s updates have only made it more clear that their only requirement is quality results. If your brand or business is simply supplying your end users with useful information about your products and services with content marketing, you have nothing to worry about. It’s when you get into Black Hat SEO marketing tactics that your work suffers when Google makes a major change to its algorithm. 

Another aspect of Google algorithm updates is the ability to reach the top of the SERP in new ways by using what you know about their recent updates. Let’s use Google Panda for example. If you are using content that is unique to your website without plagiarising someone else’s work, you shouldn’t run into a problem with this new update. But, if you’ve been reusing old content, this update will give you the push you might need to create all new content for your website. 

The Bad – 

Google algorithm changes have long had a negative impact on businesses. Whether they are using white hat marketing tactics or black hat marketing tactics, the effects that these changes make to a website can be detrimental in many ways. 

A few of the problems a Google update might cause for your website are: 

  1. Loss of website traffic translates to reduced sales. 
  2. Loss of relevance on Google SERPs. 
  3. An extra expense to produce more and better content. 
  4. Loss of better-targeted content due to shared and common addresses. 

The best way to avoid these major losses is to keep up with the updates and check in on news sources or Google Updates to learn about when an update to the Google Algorithm is coming. 

The Not So Ugly – 

If and when updates occur (because we all know that they’re inevitable), there are measures that a business can take to survive a Google algorithm change. 

  1. Write ONLY original content.
  2. Clean spam from your website regularly.
  3. Write relevant content. 
  4. Use local SEO where applicable. 
  5. Develop your website to make it more mobile-friendly.
  6. Focus on the quality and quantity of your content. 
  7. Diversify your browsers. 
  8. Read the webmaster guidelines.  

Author Image - Jill Conway
Jill Conway

CopyPress writer

More from the author:

Read More About SEO