Many drug rehab centers are aware of the existence of Google updates. However, are they aware of how greatly they may have been affected by them over the years?
What is the purpose of Google updates? What are they hoping to accomplish? To truly understand these updates, it’s necessary to understand a little more about Google itself.
The company that would become Google traces its humble beginnings to a school project at Stanford University in the 1990s. In 1996, students Larry Page and Sergey Brin worked to create a search engine that featured relevancy ranking. Page and Brin believed the internet needed a search engine that could analyze and rank websites. As a result, they eventually developed a link analysis algorithm that Google used to designate a numerical weighting to links in web pages.
Over the years, Google gradually gobbled up more and more of the lion’s share of all internet searches. Currently, more than 80% of all searches take place on Google. That number is likely to climb even higher in the future. The message is clear—if you want to rank in Google’s search results, you have to play by their rules.
Google Updates Affect Website Design and Content
A drug rehab website that ranks well in Google search results follows a long list of requirements that appear in periodic updates. But what is contained in those updates? The following represent some of the more important ones. Each update changed requirements for designing and writing for a website:
FLORIDA UPDATE: NOVEMBER 2003
In terms of Google updates, this one represented a new era in SEO. Prior to this update, many retailers had been taking advantage of Google’s lax restrictions by using affiliates who would deploy extensive spam tactics to drive traffic. Consequently, they put out multiple sites with the same name, inserted invisible text and hide high-value keywords. For this reason, many sites saw their ranking seriously compromised. This laid to rest all of the low-value late 1990s SEO tactics.
BIG DADDY UPDATE: DECEMBER 2005
This update altered how Google dealt with URL redirects. As a result, some websites suffered if they deployed too many reciprocal links or if they linked to spammy websites or relied heavily on paid links.
VINCE UPDATE: JANUARY 2009
This update favored big brand domains for first page rankings rather than less authoritative websites or websites whose only reason for prominence was an aggressive SEO effort.
CAFFEINE UPDATE: AUGUST 2009
In this update, a new web indexing system enabled Google to crawl data and store it more efficiently, which resulted in a 50% increase in fresher views.
PANDA/FARMER UPDATE: FEBRUARY, 2011
The SEO industry was startled to discover that this Google update effectively killed the “content farm” business model that so many businesses had come to rely upon. Ultimately known as Panda (named for an engineer of the primary algorithm), the update penalized thin content, content farming, high ad-to-content ratios, and various quality issues.
PENGUIN: APRIL 24, 2012
This Google update effectively lowered the ranking of websites involved in frequent keyword stuffing and unnatural linking patterns. At the time, Google stated that this update affected 3.1% of English queries.
PIGEON UPDATE: JULY 2014
This update affected local search results. In addition, Google’s distance and location ranking parameters were adjusted as well to improve results.
MOBILE-FRIENDLY UPDATE: APRIL 2015
This update was designed to give better rankings for mobile-friendly websites. In addition, this update affected websites around the world.
QUALITY UPDATE: MAY 2015
Also known as the Phantom Update, the Quality Update enhanced Google’s ability to determine the quality of a website. For example, websites with too many ads or low-quality content suffered due to this update.
FRED UPDATE: MARCH 2017
A major algorithm update, Fred targeted low-value content. Oddly, Google released no further details about the update at the time. Sometimes, there’s a hint of secrecy about some Google updates.
Surprisingly, the above updates represent just some of the search engine developments initiated by Google over the years. Without a doubt, they have had a strong effect on how websites rank. However, this is only a partial listing of Google updates. Oddly, the company doesn’t officially confirm all of them.
Have Google Updates Affected Your Addiction Treatment Website?
The quick answer is that Google updates have affected every website. For webmasters who play by the rules, these updates have never been a big deal. However, for web developers who used deceptive or unethical methods to boost their rankings these updates (particularly the Panda updates) landed like a hurricane on their websites.
Even with all of these updates, Google simply wants websites to have value to people using their search engine. Therefore, the lesson is clear for drug rehab websites:
- Play by the rules
- Create quality, original content that viewers find valuable
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