Understanding the Google Algorithm

The Importance of Keeping Up with the Updates

Google makes hundreds of updates each year to the underlying algorithm it uses to generate search results. Updates include frequent minor updates and infrequent major updates that are designed primarily to improve the quality of search results. Most changes have little visible impact, but occasionally, updates can significantly reorder results. For this reason, it’s vital to recognize how these updates operate and how you can keep up with them. You can do this with the help of SEO services.

What Is the Google Algorithm? 

Understanding what the Google algorithm is, is an important step in understanding and keeping up with the constant updates to the system. The internal process that is used to rank content is known as the Google Search Algorithm. There are many factors that go into play during this process. How many? Supposedly over 200, but really only Google knows for sure. Some of these include backlinks, keyword mentions, and usability. The Google algorithm does the heavy lifting for you by using the keywords that you typed into the search bar to find the most relevant web pages. There are many more factors that Google uses to determine the ranking and relevancy of a site. Google’s search engine results page (SERP) puts the higher ranked web pages with the best links at the top when users make a search to ensure that they get the best and most relevant results. 

How Does the Google Algorithms Work? 

Outside of Google, no one knows exactly how the Google algorithm really works. Though only Google truly knows, it is believed that there are well over 200 different factors that they take into consideration when ranking sites. Similar to other search engines, Google’s keyword search function is made up of automated programs called spiders or crawlers. These automated programs move across links, taking note of them and creating an index page that incorporates certain relevant keywords. When a user enters a search query, Google then goes back and references this index to find the most relevant content for the user. These relevant keywords are key, so that the search engine can find the pages with the information the user is looking for. Google’s spiders may also have some more innovative functions, such as being able to determine the difference between Web pages with actual content and redirect sites — pages that exist only to redirect traffic to a different Web page. Google’s Algorithm does have updates regularly, and depending on how you use it, it could make or break your SEO strategy.

Recent Google Algorithm Updates 

Google is constantly updating and adjusting its algorithm. A change made to Google’s search engine is known as a Google Algorithm Update. These updates are typically made with the intention to in order to improve the quality and relevance of the results for its users. Most of the time, website owners do not even notice the updates because they are small and do not tend to obviously affect SERP. Sometimes though, Google makes a more significant change that stirs up the rankings and traffic rates. 

This is a simple synopsis of some of these more recent major shifts so you can understand how the algorithm has developed over the past few years.

July 2022 Product Reviews Update

Google made the announcement on July 27, 2022, about the release of the July 2022 Product Reviews Update. This update was actually carried out on August 2 and was to help e-commerce marketers have easier access to learn how to write high-quality product reviews in the Google Search Central’s documentation. 

May 2022 Core Update

There are a series of updates that Google makes to the overall ranking process often throughout the course of the year. On May 22, 2022, Google carried out the May 2022 Core Update as a part of this series. They started the update May 22, 2022 and ended the updated June 9, 2022. 

December 2021 Product Review Update

In 2021, SEOs saw a new kind of update, the product review update. The first product review update, which Google pointedly described as not a core update, was targeted at English-language content rolled out over a two-week period at the end of April. In terms of impact, the update was significant, but less significant than a core update and had the main effect of prioritizing the highest quality, most useful product reviews in the SERP (search engine results pages). The December update followed the blueprint of the April update, ostensibly improving upon it. The timing of the rollout, which took about three weeks and concluded just a few days before Christmas, rankled more than a few e-commerce retailers. 

June 2021 Page Experience Update

Google’s Page Experience update began rolling out in mid-June after an initial postponement. The update introduced key performance metrics known as Core Web Vitals that now factor into rankings. It was long anticipated and, by design, did not result in major ranking changes. The long rollout of two-and-a-half months and plenty of time to prepare also helped. The 2021 update impacted the mobile user experience with the desktop update rolling out in February 2022.

December 2020 Core Update

Following E-A-T guidelines is once again invaluable to this Google Core Update. Google also recommends getting to know quality rater guidelines in order to understand how Google systems work and how your content is rated. Creating informative, unique, and optimized content that speaks to your readers will continue to help the rankings of your site.  

May 2020 Core Update 

In the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Google carried out a massive core update to help make it simpler for people to find the right answers to their search queries. This update is known as the May 2020 Core Update. With so many businesses and websites struggling to make ends meet with the uncertainty of those times, the core update helped the search process go smoother. 

January 2020 Core Update

Google recommends to its users that they pay close attention to the authoritativeness, expertise, and trustworthiness of a website. Any content that fits this criteria will be what Google values as better for ranking purposes. The January 2020 Core Update helped with this, but regardless of the core updates, better goes hand-in-hand with better rankings.