Google has been consistent in its efforts to improve search results and provide meaningful recommendations to all the users of its search engine. Unfortunately, this could mean massive upheavals in Search Engine Optimization strategies and even affect a company’s online marketing. With Google’s major algorithm changes, companies are left confused and their websites are suffering because of big drops in ranking and their online presence. In an effort to help ordinary small business owners and local marketers, here’s what you need to know about 3 of Google’s biggest algorithm updates and how you should change your SEO strategy to meet each of these updates.

2011’s Panda Update:

Google emphasizes the importance of unique and useful content by discouraging the use of article directories/farms and other quality issues directly related to articles and content. The important thing to remember here is that you should never copy or make use of another’s content or article. Produce your own as Google highly values unique content.

2012’s Penguin Update:

This Google update penalizes websites that make use of excessive optimization tactics. Some examples of these tactics include keyword stuffing, link-building schemes, and all the different kinds of spamming and black hat techniques. Make use of only white hat SEO such as cleaning up the coding of your website, improving the usability of a website, making it easier to crawl and original content. Avoid keyword stuffing in all instances and use it only when it makes sense.

2014’s Pigeon Update:

This update specifically affects local searches and listings and was released July of 2014. The update aims to enhance local search results and increasing the distance along with location ranking parameters. Local directory and review websites like Yelp and TripAdvisor have been seen benefiting from this update so a good tip would be to ensure that your business has listings in local directories and review websites for greater visibility. Also, make sure business’ contact information is uniform across the web.

For the Pigeon update, it is still too soon to tell just how extensive an effect the new update will have on search engine results for local businesses and results. Throughout these big 3 updates, one thing is clear: Google values quality above anything else. If you have good quality website, content and online reputation, then you’re set no matter what changes Google throws your way.