What is the difference between Google Penguin, Panda and the Hummingbird penalty?

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What is the difference between Google Penguin, Panda and the Hummingbird penalty?

It seems that just as soon as we get up to speed with Google and the internet, a new update is launched. A new program, a new system, a new way of everything. – it can be hard to keep up-to-date and in the loop with all the new changes going on. Things like this can be especially tough for fledgling businesses and start-ups. Scratching your head in utter confusion and reading endless on-line tutorials can only get you so far, right?

penguin update What is the difference between Google Penguin, Panda and the Hummingbird penalty?


However, with a little bit of know-how– and with some trusty advice from us computer bods at IT Freelancer – you can get yourself started with the basics. In this, our first ever know-how piece, we’ll be teaching you the basics of the Google Penguin, Panda and Hummingbird, so you can arm yourself with all the information you could ever hope to need on search engine algorithms.

“Say what?” you cry, wrinkling your nose in confusion. “What’s all that about?” Well, we promise that by the time you’ve reached the end of this page, you’ll understand everything. It’s a lot easier than it sounds… Pull up a squishy chair, pour yourself a cup of (and grab a chocolate biscuit or two) and read on.

What is Google Hummingbird?

Quite simply, Hummingbird is Google’s brand new search algorithm. Launched just last month, it’s how Google sifts and sorts through the billions of webpages out there to bring you the very best and the most relevant to your search enquiry. Thing of Hummingbird like a postal sorting office – the clever bods at Google have a unique algorithm built in so that they know which post is applicable, and which is rubbish.

Why Did They Replace the Old System?

In the same way that you replace your old and tired bathroom scales, or a faithful but battered car, Google had to update its old system. In fact, it has been a long time since Google launched such a major update – as far back as the early noughties.
What About Penguin and Panda? Weren’t They Big Changes Too?

Not entirely. While Penguin (which devalues manipulative links) and Panda were big updates at the time, they didn’t involve major changes to the algorithm. Hummingbird helps when people type conversational-type enquiries into the Google search engine and focuses on the meaning behind words. In particular, it will look at every word in a query, rather than just key words. This means that the whole sentence, and often the context, is taken into account.

What Does It Mean For Me And My Business?

Generally, keep doing things the way you were doing them! If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it – at least not this time round. Google says that there’s nothing different or new that SEOs need to worry about. Quite simply, if you have original, high-quality content, you should just be fine.

But Wait, Hasn’t Google Penguin Been Updated Too?

Yes, Google also recently revamped Penguin, creating its fifth update, or 2.1 as it is now known. The Penguin update makes spam hunting even more effective, and can penalise sites which ignore the guidelines.

What Are These Guidelines?

Companies that use the following can – and usually will – be affected by Penguin:
• Paid back-links
• Low quality back-links (typically generated using automated tools)
• Large numbers of links with optimised anchor text
• Excessive link exchanges
• Text advertisements that pass Page Rank

How Can I Avoid Penguin Penalties?

Here at IT Freelancer, we recommend that you monitor your search engine traffic for a few weeks to check whether or not it has been affected by the Penguin 2.1 update. Google Analytics is a fantastic way of doing this.
1) Identify and remove offending back-links. If you think your website has been affected by the update, then consider getting professionals like us to check out your inbound link profile. Next, remove as many of them as possible, even if it means contacting each website owner and asking them to remove the links from their sites. Once you’ve done that, disavow the remaining ones using Google’s disavow tool (click here for more on that).
2) Work on building up a link building campaign
Don’t shy away from link building campaigns – inbound links are still crucial to the ranking algorithm. Instead, replace them with high-quality links that you earn.

We can help you to get your head around this, but guest blogging is a fantastic way to start. You should also ensure that your company is on social media (sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google plus and LinkedIn) as this shows Google that your site is genuine.

Of course, if all that seems overwhelming – and, believe us, we understand! – then why not get in touch?

IT Freelancer is a great way of taking your business to the next level. For as little as £250 per month, we can offer you business SEO with no contracts and no hidden or additional costs.

What are you waiting for? Get in touch today!

    • Steven Bird
    • March 18, 2014

    Woowww… What a nice article on Hummingbird. Its really helpful and give webmaster to update himself. Thanks for posting!

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