The Big Daddy Algorithm Update

If you practice SEO in your business, you know that Google algorithm updates are just fact of life. An algorithm update can cause serious damage to your website’s rank in search results. What’s worse, Google doesn’t always announce or even confirm the rollout of these updates.

Frustrating, right?

Over the years, there have been many different Google algorithm updates, some more significant than others. Some updates had no lasting effect on the SEO today, but others laid the groundwork for today’s algorithm as we know it. Once such update was Big Daddy, which rolled out over a decade ago.

Google Search Results

Big Daddy: What Was It?

On December 1, 2005, Google partially rolled out an algorithm update known as “Big Daddy”. The Big Daddy update came as no surprise to marketers and website owners. This was one of the updates that Google openly announced. In fact, Google reached out to a test-base of SEO professionals to give them feedback on the algorithm change during the rollout process.

Unlike some other updates which caused an immediate impact on SERPs, we saw the effects of Big Daddy gradually show up over a period of time. Although the update kicked off in December, the algorithm did not completely change until March of the following year.

But why did it take so long?

From a website manager’s perspective, algorithm changes don’t always make sense. To us, it might feel like Google is sometimes going rouge with all of their updates. But the truth is they are actually very strategic about the way they roll out algorithm changes.

In the case of Big Daddy, they chose to make changes slowly over time, so they had an opportunity to get feedback from testers about how well their update was doing. Specifically, Google wanted to make sure their new model of data centers was up to the task before they initiated a widespread rollout.

This update was unique in that SEO professionals were able to test and give feedback to Google before it was fully put into effect.

What they were testing for was the quality of the SERPs, or search engine results pages, being put forth by the new update.

Why Was This So Important?

Today, when you search for something on Google, you’re almost guaranteed to find EXACTLY what you’re looking for on the first page of your search results.

That wasn’t always the case.

In the early days of Google searches, users would get a ton of irrelevant search results mixed that they had to comb through to find a website that was actually useful. This was in large part due to early SEO spamming techniques along with a less-refined Google search algorithm.

If the algorithm was doing its job, the SERPs should be filled with the most relevant websites for any given query, while pushing less relevant websites out of the top spots.

For people managing reputable websites, this is great news. Even though it meant that they would likely have to make some adjustments, most SEO professionals and website owners were in favor or algorithm updates that would show favor to more legitimate websites.

Websites Affected by Big Daddy

Of course, not everyone was a fan of the Google algorithm update. Some SEO professionals felt that the quality of the SERPs they were seeing had not improved at all. Google officials maintained that these complaints were minimal and that overall, Big Daddy was well-received.

Once Big Daddy was full in-effect, Google announced the addition of the supplemental index to search results.

In theory, the supplemental index was supposed to benefit visitors to your website by making it easier to find the specific information that may not be located in your site’s main index.

The reality was that most visitors never got to the point where they saw the supplemental index. That meant that if pages you really wanted visitors to see ended up in this index, chances were you weren’t going to get as many views as you would like on those pages.

This was a big problem for some website managers.

To remedy the issue, one had to figure out WHY a certain page was ending up in the supplemental index.

Common pages that ended up in supplemental indexes seemed to be duplicate content and pages that the algorithm deemed as less important such as category pages.

How BigDaddy Changed SEO

Since Big Daddy, there have been many different Google algorithm updates. However, the problematic supplemental index was abandoned long ago. What later algorithms did take from Big Daddy was the importance of building a concise structure for your website.

Major factors that SEO professionals concern themselves today were born out of Big Daddy and other early algorithm updates. These include things like website navigation, meta titles, and interlinking.

What Can We Learn from the Big Daddy Algorithm Update?

Big Daddy was one of the early Google algorithm updates. Since then, a lot has changed. However, SEO professionals were able to take a valuable lesson from Big Daddy that still holds up today.

Google is constantly working toward a better overall customer experience for users. They are always finding new was to scrutinize websites in order to produce better search results. That means that any SEO “hacks” you’re using today probably won’t be as effective a year from now.

Instead, website owners should focus on two things.

First, organize your website structure in a clear, concise manner. This makes it easy for Google to analyze and index all of your site’s pages. This means having a well-organized website layout, and properly utilizing meta titles, tags, and keywords. Do this on both content pages and media like images and videos.

Second, website managers need to make sure that they are generating quality content that their target audience will actually find useful. Making the user experience the top priority of your SEO plan will always pay off in the end.

If you need help optimizing your website for Google and other search engines, give us a call today.