If you are some one who seriously follows web related news, you must have come across the term ‘user experience’ many times. From mobile companies to mobile users, online gaming companies to social networks, website owners to web designers, ecommerce owners to online shoppers, everyone talks about user experience. Can Google lag behind when it comes to user experience, which is one the most important requirements of online user? Though Google has been taking initiatives towards better user experience for years, some creditable initiatives have come from them in the past two years. It’s evident from the Google updates that have been rolled out since 2010 which have completely changed the search mechanism as a whole. Though many updates rolled out by Google have made significant impacts, some have really turned things around. We’ll be discussing about 5 major updates that literally changed the way we do SEO; though these updates brought sea of changes in favor of the users, they rocked the SEO world and drove many webmasters around the world to reconsider their SEO strategy.

1. Google Caffeine

Google CaffeineThough technically it’s not an update, but Google’s new web indexing system, it’s been widely known as an update. This is a very important update from user point of view, as it enables to get him content as fresh as one published minutes ago. Google says “With Caffeine, we analyze the web in small portions and update our search index on a continuous basis, globally. As we find new pages, or new information on existing pages, we can add these straight to the index. That means you can find fresher information than ever before—no matter when or where it was published.”

Caffeine took Google’s effort towards better user experience to the next level and drove webmasters to seriously consider freshness as an important factor when it comes to ranking.

2. Social Signals

Social Signals

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Today, it has become the need of the hour for any one with business interest to go social. This social media drive has been further fueled by Google’s initiative to incorporate social signals into the algorithm. It was confirmed by Google that Social signals play a role in SERP, they will play a vital role going forward with Google+, and +1 buttons indicating the same. This initiative marks the beginning of the new phase widely known as Social SEO.

3. Freshness Update

Freshness Update

Image Courtesy: Techcrunch.com

Google has always been favoring the freshness factor, but a major step was taken with the launch of Google caffeine, which was the infrastructure (as mentioned earlier it’s technically not an update, but Google’s new web indexing system). But this freshness update provided further boost to freshness factor impacting 35% of searches.

    4. Panda update

    Google Panda Update

    I’ll be quite surprised if you belong to the SEO industry and still have not heard of Panda update. A widely publicized and discussed Google update that proved to be a big set back for so many webmasters who relied on low quality content. For those who are unaware, let us explain; Panda targets shallow or low quality content, since its launch back in Feb 2011, so many versions have been rolled out aimed at fine tuning. Panda has brought a sea of changes in the SEO world compelling web masters around the world to revise their content strategy.

    5. Penguin Update

    Google Penguin Update

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    Well, should we call it penguin update or penguin attack? It was a wake up call for the black hat practitioners or to be blunt spammers. Penguin targeted (keeps targeting) web spam, which refers to black hat techniques like keyword stuffing, manipulative link building methods, clocking, deliberately creating duplicate content etc. Penguin has literally left SEOs with only option that’s white hat, though it may take some months until things materialize completely. The effects have already been quite visible and far-reaching; it has taken a toll on thousands of sites around the world.

    All these updates are absolutely important from Google’s point of view, they have truly helped Google set new standards for the future and it’s quite evident that Google is definitely moving in that direction i.e. Better user experience.

    By: , Editor-in-chief of The iMarketing Cafe.