Why Does Google Keep Changing Its Algorithms?

November 3, 2014 | Armen AkopyanGoogle Headquarters

As an SEO marketing company, clients interested in the inner-workings of Google’s Panda and Penguin algorithms – and how their updates will affect websites – often ask us: Why does Google keep making changes to their algorithms? Based on our analysis, as well as the opinions of dozens of other SEO specialists, here’s why we believe Google keeps moving the finish line.

First, Google has a vision for the internet. In this vision, all internet content – “content” here meaning everything from static information that appears on your homepage to blog articles to the pictures you choose to display in photo galleries – is genuine, one-of-a-kind, and extremely informative; Google wants every website to be chock-full of relevant, well-conveyed information, and every page should be topic-based and include only content related to that particular page. (Yes, even ads should be related, if possible!) Link-building, which tells Google how much authority to give your site – “authority” in the sense that internet users trust your website and create links to it within their websites – should occur naturally; in Google’s eyes, if your site has high-quality content, people will find it (through other links, presumably) and link to it, thus allowing the internet community to organically determine which website’s have “authority” and which do not.

So then why all the changes to the algorithms? Google’s vision for the internet is based on one principle: User Happiness. All updates to Panda and Penguin are aimed at making the internet a more enjoyable, informative, and user-friendly place for people to surf, read, browse, shop, and interact. Google has determined – correctly, in our opinion – that certain practices like keyword stuffing (overusing keywords that Google’s internet spiders look for), populating sites with “thin,” duplicate, or non-informative content, or creating deceptive or disorganized websites all lead to a poor user experience; Google Panda updates, in general, give these “quality-poor” sites low rankings in search engine results pages (SERPs) so fewer internet browsers will find them. Google’s Penguin algorithm also focuses on user happiness, but instead of monitoring on-site content, Penguin looks at links coming to your site from other websites. As you know, these links can influence your site’s “authority” and raise your position in results pages; recent updates to Penguin attempt to determine if your website truly deserves a high “authority” ranking by scrutinizing the authenticity of your website’s external links. If the links are deemed low-quality because they are fabricated, unrelated to your website’s content, or broken, down your website will go.

What does all this mean for my website or business? The internet is constantly changing and evolving, and we must change with it or risk being dropped into SERP oblivion. The best way to think of Google’s updates is by comparing them to natural selection; in this internet-Darwinism, the strong sites with great content and solid links rise to the top and thrive, while the weak sites with thin content and poor links wither and eventually die. Though regular updates to Panda and Penguin algorithms can make it difficult to know exactly which practices Google favors and which is dislikes, all changes to any website should be made with Google’s vision – and thus this question – in mind:

“I am a human. Will this make my website more enjoyable to other humans like me?”