The Panda, The Penguin and The Hummingbird

Each time Google releases a new algorithm change it sounds like the company is unleashing a new Batman villain. First it was the Panda, then it was the Penguin, and then we saw the Hummingbird. But these were not one-time upgrades, nor are these terms used to describe the same algorithm. These terms refer to three different algorithms that Google updates on a regular basis. In order to understand the changes in the world of SEO marketing, you must understand these algorithms.

Why Change The Algorithms?

Before we discuss the three primary Google algorithms, we should quickly discuss why Google introduced them in the first place. These algorithms did not replace the existing Google search algorithms, but rather they enhanced what Google already had in place.

When users complain about the quality of results they get with Google’s search engine, Google responds with algorithm changes. To get the changes Google wanted, it had to start adding new algorithms to the ones it already had. That is where these new ones came from and why we can probably expect new Batman supervillain names in the coming years.

The Panda

The Panda was the first new Google algorithm and it was released in 2011. Panda looks for the overall quality of the site and determines if the site is safe and useful to web traffic. If you are keyword stuffing just to bring in traffic, Panda will find you and punish your website. If you do not offer quality content on your website, then Panda will knock your website down in the search engine results. Panda looks for quality content and rewards websites that go out of their way to bring value to each user.

The Penguin

The Penguin appeared almost exactly one year after the Panda and the Penguin deals almost exclusively with links on websites. Prior to the appearance of the Penguin, website owners would buy links that were unrelated to their website content, but could still drive a lot of traffic. The Penguin can determine if the links on your website are purchased or organic (placed as a result of a relationship with the destination site) and if they are related to your content. If you used paid links or your links are unrelated to your content, then the Penguin punishes your website severely.

The Hummingbird

The Hummingbird is a complete renovation of the Google algorithm and affects the way that Google looks at content and resolves user queries. Hummingbird looks for quality content and long-tail keywords that will help to get the user the exact result they are looking for. If the user wants information about a specific type of business in a specific geographic area, then Hummingbird will search website content to filter out any site that does not match the business or geographic needs of the user. Hummingbird is an intuitive upgrade to the Google search process and it is the algorithm that currently gets the most attention from Google.

The Panda, the Penguin, and the Hummingbird have caused businesses to close, while launching other businesses to great success. They are constantly being altered by Google who wants to tweak these algorithms to bring more value to the users. Are these really Internet supervillains? According to Google, they are only villains if your website is trying to cheat the public. Does that make Google Batman? Holy ironic twist.