Since 2015, the Google ranking system has aimed at encouraging content quality over quantity. The new Google 2016 algorithm update further improved this aspect by providing an additional penalty to keyword stuffing. The overall “artificial intelligence” that now evaluates a page’s ranking for a given keyword seems now to favor websites with few long, high-quality articles with a lot of relevant content that covers that topic in-depth to those with many pages with low amounts of content. Another significant change is the shift from simple content to encouraging those articles that further understand user intent. So if an article provides a simpler, clearer answer to a user’s hypothetical question (such as “how to write an article”), then Google will give it a better score. Summing all this up, several classic print publishers such as Vanity Fair and The Economist lost some ranking, while simple educational games websites got a better one.
On the other hand, changes that the entire SEO community were waiting for, like the Panda and Penguin software updates took a different form than expected. According to Forbes, The Panda algorithm has seemingly been incorporated into the core algorithm, in fact, although the last update still seems to still be the 4.2, which is from March 2015. And while the volatility of January 2016 rankings seemed to show that a Penguin update was finally uploaded, Google’s Webmaster Trend Analyst John Mueller confirmed that it was due to core algorithm changes instead.
The rapid advancement of mobile technologies is deeply affecting the entire web scenario. Software developers are shifting towards the development of new apps and mobile websites, which clearly represent the future of information technology. Even the content for mobile websites and apps is now different, and Google had to account for that with the new ranking system changes. The average mobile user is very task oriented and checks his phones just to quickly accomplish a specific task, like finding a nearby café or cinema. Mobile-oriented content must be much shorter and concise than web-oriented one. The average web surfer wants to know, learn and explore things in a much more relaxed setting. For these reasons Google now clearly understands whether a given content is most suitable for mobile rather than the web, and may rank it accordingly.