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How Google's Panda, Penguin, and Hummingbird Affect Rankings

Updated on June 12, 2024
Posted on September 12, 2016 by Michael White

The “Google Zoo,” which consists of Panda, Penguin, and Hummingbird, are Google’s algorithms that help determine where sites rank on the search results page. Each of these animals has a different function that can affect your website rankings in different ways. For example, Panda’s job is to remove low-quality content from search results, Penguin works to remove sites that are spammed, and Hummingbird assesses if your content is what readers want to read.

How Google's Panda, Penguin, and Hummingbird Affect Rankings

How Panda, Penguin, and Hummingbird Influence Your Site

Google changes their algorithms hundreds of times annually, so it is important that you are able to stay current with their updates in order to maximize your site rankings. You must also ensure that your website is set up in a way which works best with each algorithm.

Panda assesses the quality of each post that you make on your website. It is concerned with if you are adding meaningful content rather than going to an unnecessary high word count. To get the most of Panda, stay away from keyword-driven posts that don’t come across as natural and never duplicate content from another website.

Penguin also devalues low-quality sites, but it looks for different criteria. While Panda assesses your actual content, Penguin looks at how your website has been promoted. If your website has been promoted through spam like bots and spiders, or has been linked by a number of disreputable sites, your rankings will go down. The one thing to note about Penguin is that no site is automatically assumed to be high-quality by virtue of its address. This means that websites that are immensely popular or belong to .edu domains are automatically considered high-quality in Google’s eyes.

Hummingbird is a bit different than the other two algorithms. Rather than focusing on the actual quality of your website, it is more concerned with the information you are providing to your readers. In other words, hummingbird looks at the context of your website or blog and determines if it has relevant information for the person performing the Google search. This means that if you don’t present information that is helpful or relative, you could be skipped over in a search query.


Working With Google Algorithms to Improve Your Rankings

One of the first steps to take to use these algorithms in your favor is to avoid the following pitfalls:

  • Don’t improve the quantity of your updates at the expense of your content quality.
  • Make every update informative and well-structured. Avoid saturating it with unrelated keywords to try and boost your website ranking.
  • If you do hire an SEO company to help improve your rankings, make sure that they are reputable that only uses high-quality referrals.

Since Panda always updates itself, it is essential that you stay knowledgeable with the current changes. Many tactics that were once a viable strategy, like exact match domain names, are now penalized by Google. If you want to ensure that your content is always on Panda’s good side, rather than saddle your updates down with keywords, publish content that is properly researched and informative. In addition, your site needs to be user-friendly, which means that you should have a mobile-friendly platform for readers using smartphones and tablets.

If you’re worried about being negatively affected by Penguin, you should perform an audit that evaluates all of the spammy or low-quality links that you have used in the past. If websites which aren’t regarded by Google as high-quality have linked you, politely ask them to remove any links to your site. If that doesn’t work then you can submit a “disavow file” to Google. This means that all links on the offending website that are directed to you are ignored by Google.

With Hummingbird, your best bet is to cover a wide range of topics related to your niche and keep all information up-to-date. Think about all of your users’ potential needs and problems and address them on the site. Your ultimate goal is to make your platform the go-to place for anything related to your niche.

By working with these algorithms, you can greatly increase your chances of being discovered on a Google search query.

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