Google Search Algorithm Update – What You Need To Know Now

google search algorithm

For a Digital Marketer, Content Marketer, or SEO, the mystery surrounding Google search algorithm can be frustrating and interesting. Numerous articles attempt to shed some light on this subject, but they frequently fall into the realm of speculation and opinion rather than anything concrete. With an estimated 5.6 billion Google searches per day, it’s safe to say Google has a significant impact on the world and your business. 

Google claims to update its search algorithm thousands of times per year. The majority of Google algorithm updates are too minor to notice. Google search is constantly evolving. Google made 4,500 changes to search in 2020. This figure includes updates to its ranking system, user interface, and other features. Google also conducted over 600,000 experiments. That means Google search changes 12 times per day on average.

This guide will teach you everything you need to know about the Google Search Algorithm

Firstly, Let us know what is google search algorithm is and how does it work?

What is Google Search Algorithm?

Google Search Algorithms is a complex system that retrieves data from its search index and instantly returns the best results for a query. The search engine uses a combination of algorithms and numerous ranking factors to deliver webpages ranked by relevance on its search engine results pages (SERPs).

When determining these rankings, it considers several factors, including the relevance and quality of the content with a specific search query.

Google only made a few algorithm updates in its early years. Google now updates thousands of changes per year. Most of these changes are so minor that they go unnoticed. However, the search engine occasionally releases major algorithmic updates that have a significant impact on the SERPs.

Before we go any further, let us first understand the board context of the Google ranking process.

Crawling

The first stage involves Google’s bots (“spiders”) crawling the web in search of new or updated web pages. In general, the more links a page has to it, the easier it is for Google to find it. Pages must be crawled and indexed in order to rank.

Indexing

The next step for Google is to examine these URLs and try to determine what each page is about. It accomplishes this by closely inspecting the page’s content, images, and other media files, and then storing this information in a massive database known as the Google index. During the first two stages, it is critical that your technical SEO is in good working order, and that your sitemap, headers, and tags are properly configured.

Ranking

The final step is to determine which of these pages is most relevant and useful for a specific search query. This is the ranking stage, and it is here that the Google search algorithm comes into play.

How Does the Google Search Algorithm Work?

Unfortunately, the answer to this is that nobody knows outside of Google’s inner circle.

There are two significant reasons for this

For starters, the algorithm is a closely guarded business secret, and disclosing it would significantly reduce the company’s value. More importantly, if the algorithm was made public, anyone could exploit it and manipulate the system to their advantage. 

This would result in unhelpful search results for users and, given Google’s influence and importance as an online tool, would undoubtedly result in a worse internet.

As a result, many digital marketers and SEOs frequently speculate on how the algorithm works and what they should do to rank higher in SERPs. 

But just because the algorithm is off-limits doesn’t mean Google is completely silent on the subject.

Why is Google Search Algorithm Important?

When Google makes an update, it affects your site’s SEO rankings, allowing it to perform well or poorly. 

Knowing when Google sends out updates allows us to adapt to its algorithm, making us aware of site changes regularly.

When Google releases a new core update, you should check your page’s rankings and analytics also allow you to see what changes have occurred and make data-driven decisions to assist your marketing, web, and analytics teams.

Let’s say your website receives a lower ranking in its monthly rankings. You notice a decrease in the number of page views in Google Analytics. 

This may imply that your website requires more engaging blog posts or videos to rank higher in Google’s algorithm.

Key Ranking Factors in Google Search Algorithm

Some of the main factors that the google search algorithm considers, as well as how they can be applied to your SEO strategy

Meaning of the Search Query

Understanding and clarifying the meaning and intent of the search query is the critical first step in Google’s search algorithm. The techniques that enable this are, once again, a closely guarded secret, but we do know that it allows the search engine to understand.

The scope of the query refers to whether the searcher is looking for results on a broad like “how to get into farming,” or a specific topic like “which farming tool should be used for a particular task?”

Relevancy

Secondly, the search engine must determine which pages are relevant to the search query. To put it another way, find the pages that best answer the user’s search query.

It delivers this by crawling and indexing all websites on the internet regularly and analyzing their content.

Keywords play a critical role. If the search query and phrases related to the search query appear on the page, the page is likely to be relevant to the user.

Quality of Content

Google has put in place a set of detailed guidelines to help SEOs and content marketers understand what it “likes.”

Google offers a series of questions that can be used to evaluate the quality of your content, many of which center on the concepts of expertise, authority, and trustworthiness. These are the three assessment pillars that comprise the company’s E-A-T process.

E-A-T

E-A-T stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness.

E-A-T is a component of Google’s algorithm and is integrated into Google’s Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines.

Even Google considers E-A-T to be “very important.”

characteristics of high quality pages

E-A-T is one of many guidelines Google uses to determine whether the content is valuable to readers and should rank well.

E-A-T was first mentioned in 2014 when Google included the concept in its Search Quality Guidelines.

Google search quality evaluators were told to look for:

  • The content creator’s expertise.
  • The authoritativeness of the creator of the content, the content itself, and the website.
  • The trustworthiness of the content creator, the content itself, and the website.
e-a-t

Although E-A-T is not a ranking factor, it can have an impact on the rank of your content.

7 Ways to Improve Your Website’s E-A-T

  1. Tell Visitors Who You Are
  2. Work With Experts to Create Content
  3. Make the Purpose of Your Content Clear
  4. Update Content Regularly
  5. Link to High-Quality Sources
  6. Consider Multiple Viewpoints
  7. Pay Attention to Your Online Reputation

Google has stated that E-A-T is not a significant change that will harm search rankings.

It is, instead, an internal guideline that Google uses to determine whether a piece of content is of high quality.

But that doesn’t make it ineffective. The E-A-T guidelines can help SEO professionals better inform their content creation process and produce great content that Google is more likely to rank well.

Your Money or Your Life (YMYL)

YMYL content is any information you publish that has the potential to affect a reader’s happiness, health, safety, or financial stability. In such cases, Google is unlikely to consider ranking your content unless it is written by a relevant expert.

Google on YMYL content
Google on YMYL content

For example, if you create a blog post advocating a specific type of diet, it must be written by a relevant professional, such as a dietician. A certified financial professional would need to write an article about the pros and cons of a specific pension scheme, and so on.

The Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines (SQEG) provide detailed guidelines on what constitutes YMYL content, and they are a significant ranking factor within Google’s search algorithm, so ensure that you adhere to them strictly.

User Experience

core-web-vitals

Now that Google has addressed the relevance and quality of content, it must ensure the website’s usability and user-friendliness.

This includes technical considerations such as:

  • The page should be Responsiveness
  • In all browsers, the appearance is correct.
  • Page loading time
  • The website’s security

Google usually gives webmasters ample notice of any significant updates that are about to occur, which include several tools to help them measure and improve the usability and performance of their site.

Google has confirmed that its user experience metrics, known as Core Web Vitals, are a ranking factor, with Mueller stating that “it’s more than a tie-breaker, but it also doesn’t replace relevance.” 

As a result, monitoring your site’s performance is recommended to ensure that it is fully optimized.

Context

This ranking factor is linked to relevance.

These may include the following:

  • The user’s location
  • Searches in the past
  • Search settings

Here’s an example of how location affects search results: the results for the keyword “football” in the United States vs the United Kingdom.

content-usa
content-uk

Finally, the algorithm can take into account the searcher’s preferences, especially if they browse the web while logged into their Google account. For example, if the algorithm knows the user is interested in music and the user searches for “events near me,” it may prioritize music concerts. Because these are all searcher-dependent factors, it is difficult to implement any tactics that can improve your site’s performance at this stage of the algorithm

Major Google Algorithm Update

Google Panda Update

 (Date: February 24, 2011)

The Panda algorithm update gives web pages a “quality score.” This score is then used as a ranking factor. Panda’s effects were initially mild, but it was permanently incorporated into Google’s core algorithm in January 2016. Since then, update rollouts have become more frequent, resulting in faster Panda penalties and recoveries.

Google Panda penalized sites with low-quality, spammy, or thin content. Keyword stuffing, insufficient user expertise, and piracy websites also had to pay the price.

Google Penguin Update 

 (Date: April 24, 2012)

Google Penguin’s goal is to de-rank sites with unnatural backlinks. This update prohibited low-effort link building, such as purchasing links from link farms and PBNs.

Google Hummingbird Update 

 (Date: August 22, 2013)

The Hummingbird algorithm assists Google in better interpreting search queries and providing results that are relevant to the searcher’s intent. While keywords remain important, the Hummingbird algorithm allows a page to rank for a query even if it does not contain the exact words entered by the searcher. This is accomplished through natural language processing, which employs latent semantic indexing, co-occurring terms, and synonyms.

Mobile Update (Mobilegeddon)

 (Date: April 21, 2015)

Mobile search updates (2018, 2020), have shifted the focus from a desktop version of your website to a mobile version. Google now ranks all websites according to how fast and user-friendly their mobile versions are.

Google RankBrain Update 

 (Date: October 26, 2015)

Google’s Hummingbird algorithm includes RankBrain. 

It is a machine learning system that assists Google in understanding the meaning of queries and serving the most relevant search results in response to those queries. 

RankBrain is the third most important ranking factor, according to Google. While we don’t know the exact formula behind this update, it is widely assumed that RankBrain is in charge of personalizing a user’s Google search results. 

Google looks beyond a person’s search query to consider the larger context, such as synonyms, implied words, and personal search history.

Google Medic Update 

 (Date: May 4, 2018)

The Google Medic update appeared to have a disproportionate impact on medical websites as well as other websites dealing with potentially life-altering decisions (finance, law, education). Although not explicitly confirmed, Google representatives have hinted that the update included some of the Quality Rater Guidelines document’s E-A-T (expertise, authority, trust) signals.

Google Bert Update 

 (Date: October 22, 2019)

This Google algorithm update uses natural language processing technology to understand search queries, interpret text, identify entities, and identify relationships between entities. We’ve seen Panda, Hummingbird, and RankBrain updates move away from keywords, and the BERT update is the culmination of this effort, it allows Google to understand much more nuance in both queries and search results.

Google Core Web Vital Updates 

 (Date: 2017-present)

Google began referring to larger updates as Google core updates as early as 2017. 

Since then, there has been even less clarity about what those updates are and which aspects of the search they are meant to improve. SEOs would frequently track post-update ranking shifts to determine what had changed, but there is rarely a conclusive observation. 

Google core updates are most likely enhancements to previous Google updates or bundles of smaller updates tied together.

Conclusion

Despite Google’s frequent updates, the fundamentals of SEO haven’t changed much since the invention of search engines. 

Basically:

  • Create high-quality, well-formatted content that corresponds to the intent of your keyword search.
  • Maintain the freshness of your content.
  • Make sure your site provides a pleasant user experience.
  • Create topically relevant links.

Google remains the world’s most popular search engine and has continued to revolutionize the web search experience after 20 years of updates, fixes, and announcements. Online businesses can expand with the assistance of Google. To summarize, Google’s algorithm will evolve and adapt over time. So make sure your company’s and brand’s website is ready for the next update