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SEO Updates: 7 Priceless Lessons from Google’s Major Algorithm Updates

Google is the best unintentional teacher of SEO.

Don’t get me wrong …

love learning from SEO gurus like Rand Fishkin, Brian Dean and Neil Patel.

But if there’s one SEO instructor that stands above them all, it’s Google.

Think about it:

With every single algorithm update Google incorporates, they:

1. Paint a clearer picture of what users want to see online

2. Show us SEOs and content marketers what works and what doesn’t

And it’s up to us to take the lessons they teach and execute on them.

Today, I’m going to share with you seven important lessons learned from Google’s major SEO updates and show you what you need to do to implement them into your marketing strategy.

SEO Updates: 7 Priceless Lessons from Google’s Major Algorithm Updates



Lesson 1: Always strive to get more high-quality backlinks

SEO update that teaches this lesson: Google Penguin

What Google Penguin targets:

  • Paid links – Do-follow links that are purchased from someone for the purpose of increasing your site’s rankings within Google.
  • Low-quality links – Links to your site that come from low-quality sources. The most common examples are unrelated links, low-quality directory submissions and comment spam.
  • Keyword stuffing – Content with a high ratio of occurrences of the keyword you’re trying to rank for on Google.

What you need to do:

Find high-quality backlink sources.

Use Monitor Backlinks to spy on your competitors and uncover new sites to target for high-quality backlink opportunities.

All you have to do is add your competitor’s site to your Monitor Backlinks account to spy on all their backlinks, and get notified of new ones. Try Monitor Backlinks free for 30 days!



Focus on creating shareable content.

Find topics that your audience needs help with. Create an engaging, in-depth piece of content that addresses that topic. Make it shareable by anyone.

Publish it. Promote it. Repeat as needed.

Find key influencers.

Find influential people in your industry or niche with a significant following who will share your content with others.

Use tactics that will encourage them to share your content (broken link building, quoting them, linking to them within your content, etc.)

Lesson 2: Make your content better

SEO update that teaches this lesson: Google Panda

What Google Panda targets:

  • Thin content – Content that adds little or no value to your audience. Typically, thin content is regurgitated information that lacks new insights and has zero depth.
  • Unhelpful content – Content that doesn’t help your audience overcome their obstacles or provide positive solutions to their most pressing pain points. In other words, just like thin content, it adds no value to your audience.

What you need to do:

Give explicit and detailed answers.

Clearly state the following: your content’s topic, the key problem being addressed, and how your content will solve that problem in a unique way.

Then, provide as many details as needed to thoroughly and adequately help your audience solve the problem.

Write helpful and actionable content.

Your content must do these two things: First, help your audience solve their particular problem or address their pain point.

Second, make your solution to their problem as easy as possible for them to put into action.

Avoid copying large chunks of text.

Even when quoting others, refrain from using large chunks of exact-match text in your content.

One option to consider with long quotes is turning the quote into an image (and linking to the source of the quote).

Lesson 3: Make your site mobile-friendly

SEO updates that teach this lesson: The Google mobile-friendly update and mobile-first indexing

What the Google mobile-friendly update and mobile-first indexing target:

  • Any site that’s not mobile-friendly – This means a site that an audience can’t easily use from their mobile devices and tablets. Sites that have poor formatting, are difficult to read, aren’t UI-friendly, and take a longer time to load.

What you need to do:



Implement the following into your website design:

  • Responsive design – Website design that adapts to any device your audience may be using to view your site.
  • Larger font – The larger the font, the easier it is for your audience to read on mobile devices.
  • More white space – White space reduces clutter, making your mobile site easier on the eyes and your content easier to digest.
  • No separate website – If you’re currently hosting your mobile site on an “m” domain (, you need to transfer it to your main domain and implement a responsive design scheme.

Lesson 4: Know exactly what your users want

SEO update that teaches this lesson: Google Hummingbird

What Google Hummingbird targets:

  • Users’ intent behind Google searches – This essentially means the person’s goal when performing a search on Google. What exactly are they searching for? What end result do they have in mind? For example, when someone searches for “cars” on Google, are they searching for automobiles or the Pixar film?

What you need to do:

Know exactly what users want to find.

When you find a potential keyword to target, invest the time to understand what your audience wants when they search for the term on Google.

And then create your content to cover that specific need in as much useful detail as possible.

Research thoroughly before writing.

Once you have a solid grasp on what your audience’s intent is behind the Google search, perform detailed research on the topic before you even begin writing so you can form the necessary backbone for creating a truly helpful post.

Provide detailed answers.

Don’t leave out any necessary details when writing about your topic. Use relevant data and statistics.

Explain how every component works within the context of the topic, and provide answers that are stuffed with truly useful information.

Lesson 5: Get rid of low-quality backlinks

SEO update that teaches this lesson: Google Penguin

What Google Penguin targets:

  • Exact match anchor text – Anchor text that exactly matches the keyword you’re trying to rank for. Exact match anchor text immediately throws up a red flag to Google.
  • Links from low-quality sites – Links that come from either poorly developed or unrelated sites. These low-quality sites communicate to Google that your own content must not be of high value.

What you need to do:

A simple two-step process is all you need to find and remove harmful low-quality backlinks.

1. Scan your backlink portfolio. Use Monitor Backlinks to instantly create a database of all of your site’s current backlinks.




2. Remove all do-follow links that contain the following:

  • A large number of external links
  • High spam scores
  • Spammy anchor text (like “.”)
  • Top-level domains from a foreign-speaking country

Lesson 6: Improve your site’s user experience

SEO update that teaches this lesson: Google Fred

What Google Fred targets:

  • Aggressive advertising – Sites whose pages are littered with blatant and excessive ads and pop-ups. If your site is difficult to navigate due to the sheer amount of advertisements, you’re in trouble.
  • Low-quality content – Thin and unhelpful content that fails to address the needs of your audience.
  • Poor user experience – Sites that are difficult to use and navigate, or use practices that either interrupt the audience’s experience or aggravate the audience.

What you need to do:

Make content that’s user-focused.

When it comes to content creation, forget about yourself and your business. Make content solely for your audience’s benefit, focusing on their needs and desires and motivations.

This is the type of content Google craves and what they want to deliver to their users. Create SEO-optimized content for users and Google will reward you accordingly.

Remove unnecessary ads.


If your pages are littered with banner ads that disrupt the flow of your content, you need to remove them or face the consequences of ranking low on Google.

In their eyes, bombarding your clients with ad after ad is the same as spamming their email inbox.

Make your content truly competitive.

Compare your content to the top thought leaders in your industry. Does it compete?

If not, you need to improve it; make it better than your competition.

Ask yourself: What can you do to make your content more attractive, more engaging, more in-depth, more actionable than your top competitors? Answer these questions and then execute on them.

Lesson 7: Don’t complain, take action

Google updates that teach this lesson: All of them

With every update, you’ll find (mostly inexperienced) marketers complaining about Google’s practices. Complaints like “Google doesn’t care about us” and “Google has ruined online marketing” are common.

Yet, when these “marketers” provide links to their sites in these comments, none of them have seemingly learned the lessons listed above.

Their content is thin and unengaging. Their site is riddled with unnecessary advertisements. And their site’s design is either too outdated or difficult to navigate.

Don’t be like them.

Instead of complaining, use your valuable time to take action.

First and foremost, implement what you’ve learned from the above lessons. And then, with every new Google update, do the following:

1. Find out what the new update is.

2. Find out how it affects your site and marketing efforts.

3. Research and uncover new strategies that will benefit your Google rankings.

4. Immediately start implementing those strategies on your site.

Follow these steps with all major SEO updates and I promise you’ll reap the rewards.


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