A Quick Guide to the Google Algorithm for SEO

an image of a computer screen with Google algorithm SEO graphs on the screen

Google utilises various “SEO algorithms” that vet the good websites from the bad in terms of SEO. They employ over 200 ranking signals, so it is a challenge to even reach below the surface of the system itself. We shed some light on three key Google algorithm update:


Panda is the part of the Google algorithm update focused on website quality. Panda’s aim is to ensure that the user experience throughout is satisfactory. A higher quality website will also rank more highly on Google, which is the main incentive for businesses to follow the guidelines. Factors such as trustworthy/relevant information and visual appearance are how Panda deciphers between good quality and bad quality websites.


Penguin is the section of the Google algorithm update aimed mainly spammy links, which is ‘black hat SEO’ that uses aggressive strategies that disregard the user in order to rank better for search engines. A common example is purchasing backlinks, which are put in irrelevant websites; this was once accepted but is now punished. Google implements this algorithm to combat the ‘cheating’ at play through black hat SEO and the return from a negative Penguin ranking includes audits, disavowing links and crawling back up the rankings using positive SEO tactics.


Pigeon focuses on the local aspect of SEO. This part of the Google algorithm update also focuses on improving the user experience in terms of Google Maps and local web search results. Pigeon reduces the radius within which results for an individual user are based – making their results more targeted and improving the user’s ability to decide and take relevant information from a search. Websites are not negatively affected by Pigeon, but those visited more by local users will experience search rankings rewards.

In conclusion, SEO is such as broad and complex area that this quick guide has barely even touched the surface. Many businesses are trying to improve their Google rankings, which means the competition is very high. Therefore, if you’re struggling to rank it may be worth considering employing a digital marketing agency in order to boost your website quality – especially considering the extra time many businesses spend trying to achieve the less complete results.

If you would like to hear more about the SEO services we offer; visit our SEO page, fill in our online contact form or call us on 01706 361708.

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