Search Engine Penalties in 2019: Top 10 Algorithm Updates

by | May 4, 2019 | Guest Posts

9 Min Read. |

Nobody wants a Google Penalty.

The consequences of a Google Penalty can be devastating.

Search engines are often penalizing websites with wrong notions with SEO Penalty. Especially Google which is the largest amongst all of the global market (more than 90%) share.

To not keeping up with the algorithm updates, R&R (Rules & Regulations) violations are some of the top reasons.

Google wants to build a world that consists of websites which are meant to help people. It’s all about doing business with the right intentions.

You must have a mindset that compels with these intentions unless most of the search engines are going to punish your website with their Search Engine Penalties.

Let’s take a look at how Google algorithm affects your website, and how to keep your site safe from Google Penalty & not being penalized.

What is Search Engine Algorithm?

It is better to get an idea on the algorithm first. What is it working behind your positions in a web search? You need to provide reasons to a search engine to show your site in the top.

An algorithm is a set of rules for solving a problem in a measured number of steps. There are a lot of search engines out there, and all of your plans should nurture for the best one. That’s why we are going with Google.

For example, when you search for the keyword “best marketing automation tool,” Google will show hundreds of results. It is unlikely for you visiting all of them rather than the results of the first page.

How Google put this order on “which one to show first?” They use a mathematical system, backed by a set of rules which works as the influencer.

Google has a complex algorithm system to act with this concern, and change them frequently. On the other hand, the company never disclose these measurements. Though, the SEO experts and the ecommerce marketers never rest too, to discover the secrets and prevent themselves from Google Penalty.

And, it’s like a race between Google vs. the marketers. Google always try to make it difficult and keep changing. As a marketer, you must cope up with the changes.

One little thing I’m going to share. There are some confusions. Algorithm and Search Engine Penalties are not always connected.

If you failed to fortify with an algorithm update, not that every time Google going to perish your site, it’s not that simple.

But you can make it simple through our discussion.

Top 10 Google Algorithm Updates and Search Engine Penalties

If somehow Google blacklisted your site with a Google Penalty, there’s nothing ruinous more than that.

It is the last thing you want for the destruction of your online career. You may lose your organic search visibility, traffic, and overall revenue eventually.  

Here, we are going to list some of the top algorithm updates you must know to avoid SEO Penalty.

1. Google Panda Update

Google Penalty

Google Panda Update

Release Date: February 24, 2011

Key Action: Google initiated Panda to play the role of a filter. Like a quality checker, it was meant to find websites with low graded, duplicate, and fake content. Also, it detects sites full of spams and stuffed with too many backlinks.

Eventually, Panda becomes one of the core Google algorithms to SERP’s from January 2016.

Its main goal is to create a quality web space around the world.

Google Penalty: Unless you have a website which contains low key and duplicate contents, you shouldn’t worry. There is a misconception that Panda is a penalty. It’s not. Panda updates instead throttle your website’s to the top or make it a backbencher. The penalties depend on you.

2. Google Penguin Update

Google Penalty

Google Penguin Update

Release Date: April 24, 2012

Key Action: Penguin updates help Google to prevent link spamming and penalize those who violate their R&R.  It is the shield to guards the realms of backlinks. It works in real time. Its main concerns are to find the irrelevant backlinks aka spamming, links with over-optimized anchor text.

The meaning is, this core Google algorithm monitors the site who purchase backlinks from third-party websites and slow them down.

Since the beginning, Google updated this algorithm five times.

Google Penalty: Being caught by Penguin means hefty penalties. Google can permanently make your site invisible to anyone because it prohibited the websites that pollute the internet.

3. Google Pirate Update

Google Penalty

Google Pirate Update

Release Date: July 24, 2014

Key Action: This update helps Google to find out the web pirates. Closest to Panda, its primary focus is to hunt down the websites with pirated contents, and those who violate the copyright laws.

Google Penalty: Though, it doesn’t have a significant impact amongst the infected site. Anyway, if a website gets enough copyright compliant under Google’s DMCA, Pirate affects the site rankings.

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4. Google Pigeon Update

Google Penalty

Google Pigeon Update

Release Date: August 20, 2014

Key Action: Google introduced Pigeon update back in 2014 to improve their locations and distance search parameters. I mean, it’s designed to provide relevant and more helpful search results.

So, it’s main focus lies here: low Off-Page/ On-Page SEO. It works only with U.S English searches right now.

Google Penalty: There is no penalty with this update. Though, you should care for Pigeon. It works behind your website traffic and can impact your ranking if you failed to take proper SEO initiative.

5. Google Possum Update

Google Penalty

Google Possum Update

Release Date: September 1, 2016

Key Action: Google let the local business to list their services to ‘my business’ and NAP (name, address, phone number) listing.

It has two primary objectives. One, people who search for them may find the closest business to their location. Two, the websites keep a trace throughout google maps and search results with its niche.

And, truth to be told, there are a lot of fake listings that trouble Google SERP’s and the user to get the best results.

Possum updates intend to make the internet free of these fake listings.

The goal is clear. Improve the local search results to a more intense level.

Google Penalty: The use of relevant keywords and the proper listing will help your website although you are out of the user’s physical location. If you can’t take the necessary steps, you will lose your top spot day by day.

6. Mobile Friendly Update or Mobilegeddon

Google Penalty

Mobile Friendly Update or Mobilegeddon

Release Date: April 21, 2015

Key Action: Google’s Mobilegeddon update filters the websites with or without mobile-friendly layouts. It ensures that the site which develops their design to work simultaneously to any mobile devices rank the top search. It slows down the ranking of the website who don’t have it.

So, want a mobile search boost? This update intends to help you.

Google Penalty: Are your website is mobile responsive? If not, the Mobile update will let your ranking low. It’s a severe issue, literally.

7. RankBrain

Google Penalty

Rank Brain

Release Date: October 26, 2015

Key Action: RankBrain is an artificial intelligence or machine learning system. When someone searches a topic or made a query, RankBrain tries to learn the meanings behind the search and sort out the best results possible.

Google named this update as their third most crucial ranking motivator. It’s a part of the Hummingbird algorithm.

You wouldn’t find much info about it because Google seems to reluctant about disclosure. Though, it’s clear that this AI algorithm functions to identify the relevancy regarding every Google queries.

Google Penalty: RankBrain can harm your website’s ranking if you have shallow contents, poor UX, and lack of search-friendly relevant topics. The solutions also stick with these matters.

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8. Fred

Google Penalty


Release Date: March 8, 2017

Key Actions: The goal of Fred algorithm update is simple. It follows the websites which violate Google Webmasters guidelines and hunt them down.

Most of the cases, Fred affect the blog with too many ads and affiliate links; those who publish low-quality content solely want to generate ad revenue.

Google Penalty: Poor content, stuff the site with too much affiliate link never going to improve someone’s business. They don’t want to add any value to the readers perished by Fred. Google always tries to banish this kind of website.

9. EMD (Exact Match Domain)

Google Penalty

EMD (Exact Match Domain)

Release Date: September 2012

Key Action: EMD means domain names with popular search queries. It’s like using matching keywords in domain names to generate more traffic.

These websites are spammy. The main goal of the EMD update is to find these websites. Find out if they want to trick Google Search Engine Rank Page.

Google Penalty: Google eventually makes EMD domains fall from search results or ban permanently. So, what is the forecast? Heavy storm.

10. March 2019 Core Update aka Florida 2

Google Penalty

March 2019 Core Update aka Florida 2

Release Date: March 2019

Key Action: Google announced this algorithm update recently and claimed this is one of their most significant core updates. All of the updates we mentioned above, they are specific or act with some particular search engine factors.

One important topic that runs among the SEO experts around the world, this new update doesn’t share any particular objectives rather than a bigger goal to accomplish.

What is this bigger goal? No one has the exact answers right now. But Google does implement the idea that it’s not about to follow any niche or specific industry.

So, we assume, it’s about sorting out the quality website and rank them higher.

March 2019 core update is an improvement to the overall algorithm.

Google Penalty: You must keep your site alive with quality stuff. According to Google’s Danny Sullivan, “There’s no ‘fix’ for pages that may perform less well other than to remain focused on building great content. Over time, it may be that your content may rise relative to other pages.”

Final Thought

As a marketer, one of your top goals is to make your website healthy and to avoid SEO Penalty. Stick to the idea of quality rather than making a blind profit.

So, that’s all I believe you need to get started towards search engine algorithm updates. Have you ever wonder why you need to become an expert concerning this topic?

You must understand the search engines first when you want to achieve its sweet spots.

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