Earlier, in 2010-11, in order to rank high in search engine results page, website owners used to spend large amount of money to buy backlinks and stuff their content with relevant keywords. For them whether the readers are able to understand their content or not never mattered due to which content won’t make sense and did not connect to the audience. So they use to rank high in search engine because of their stuffed keywords. And those people who used less keywords so that people can understand their content easily and worked genuinely on their content, unlike those who stuffed content with keywords, ranked low in the search engine.
Therefore, google released an algorithm update called Penguin which penalized those websites who were buying irrelevant and bad backlinks to their websites and stuffed their content with relevant keywords. By penalizing, these websites were removed out of the google index and most of them were shut down. They did this by knowing the average time spent by the users on a particular website. On the day this update was released, more than 10 million websites were penalized. Google had to do this to protect the users from bad content.
But before that in 2004-5 google released a program called Google AdSense. By using this a website owner can monetize their website visitors who were coming to their website. Any websites that are getting traffic can apply for AdSense in their content to monetize. People became greedy and started misusing it by writing thin content which were not user-friendly. The way AdSense worked was it use to read the keywords and display ads accordingly. That means users who can read article on one page had to read on more than 1 pages, let’s say 5 pages, because website owners wanted to show 5 different adds to the users and make more money. Google understood this and started penalizing the thin content and were not user engaging. So they released an algorithm update called Panda. Even today people do this not understanding that they will earn only when the readers are happy.With Hummingbird update they changed their domain from non secure domain to the secure domain. Which means, before 2013, you can access google by typing http but now type in google.co.in it will open as https. Just like in banking domain. They did that because users were worried that whatever they searched were shared to website owners into analytics account. Lots of users raised concern that their data were not safe. So google shifted from http to https for the privacy purpose and the searches were not shared to the website owners. The keyword data is not provided in google analytics. Therefore, the hummingbird update was released to secure the searches done by the searchers from google analytics. If google does not share the keyword, then how will we come to know about the keyword which leads to higher traffic. In order to optimize our website, it is necessary to know the relevant keywords due to which a website is getting more traffic. So from where are we going to decode the keywords that leads to good amount of traffic? Tools used by SEO like semrush etc. will let us know the relevant keywords and to know this a website has to pay some amount to know the relevant keywords. That means google is indirectly penalizing a website by making the website owners pay to know the relevant keywords. And in order to not provide keywords in analytics and secure the data of the users, they released an update called hummingbird.
These are the three algorithm updates which we need to keep in mind while optimizing our website. Don’t try to have thin content or buy links. You might be forced by your boss or anyone in the office to do this. NEVER DO THAT! Try to build white hat links or genuine links. And if you genuinely try to build links, which will take some time, then you will never have to be afraid of any of the google updates.
Google didn’t want to penalize any sites they just wanted to protect those who genuinely write their content. So in order to protect them and give importance to them, google started penalizing. And to penalize the websites which did not work on their content and did not provide high quality content and misused to earn more and rank more by buying links, google released panda and penguin updates. Also google released hummingbird update to secure the data of the users i.e. the keywords were not shown to the website owners in the analytics which the searchers searched. End of the day google receive users that are searchers and if the searches do not find relevant content then they will stop using the search engine i.e. google. As a result, Google took these initiatives to protect and satisfy the users.