Whether you’re running a site targeted to a particular niche or you’re using traffic from the search engines to reach your audience, having a good Google ranking is important. In the recent past, Google has used the Pigeon, Panda, Penguin and Hummingbird updates to provide users with better results—and those who don’t know the updates’ effects on search engine algorithms may be missing out on a huge chunk of traffic.

Why Google Does Frequent Updates

Unfortunately, some people don’t play fairly when they’re not being watched. In the past, users would visit Google and the first couple of pages in the SERPs would be clogged with links to sites that didn’t offer any valuable information. While these web pages would be stuffed with keywords that would bait the search engine’s algorithms, a person trying to decipher the content would give up when they realized that the ads made more sense than the content itself.

As more users figured out Google’s algorithm, unscrupulous SEO “experts” came out of the woodwork to show people how to get a spot on the first page of the SERPs. These experts didn’t show people how to write useful, engaging content; rather, they taught the intricacies of keyword stuffing, and how to use Pay Per Click (PPC) to get more backlinks to trick the search engines.

The Negative Effects of Algorithm Updates on Businesses

Of all of Google’s recent updates, Penguin and Panda had the most adverse effects on search traffic. With the Panda update, junk sites lost their search rankings; with Penguin, sites using black-hat techniques were penalized. Some sites lost almost all their search traffic, and it was no longer sufficient to fill a site with content that was scraped from elsewhere online. However, most of the negative effects are avoidable if businesses use ethical SEO practices.

Why the Updates May be Beneficial

With all of Google’s updates, bloggers everywhere panic and the “death of Search Engine Optimization” is imminent. However, these updates can help business owners who strive to offer relevant, readable and engaging content to their site visitors. If a site owner uses My Sales Butler and provides useful content that gets shared and posted by others, they’ll see a rise in organic search engine traffic. Google has improved the usefulness of its results with the Pigeon and Hummingbird updates by fine-tuning local search results, and by gaining a better understanding of longer search terms.