Google has steadily improved its algorithm by pushing out several updates year after year. In 2018 alone, the tech-giant pushed out 3234 updates for its flagship search engine. As Google’s SERPs (Search Engine Results Page) become more and more reliable, the company’s revenue experiences an increase. The logic here is simple. Better SERPs translate to a bigger user-base. The bigger the user-base, the more the likelihood of advertising-induced revenue.
SEO and Algorithm Updates
Google’s SERP improvement saga began in 2003 with the Florida update. Ever since then, Google has pushed out several algorithmic improvements that have contributed to the brand’s ascension. However, Google isn’t always informative about the nature of the changes that these updates cause. Thus, SEO experts spend hours trying to figure out the optimizations needed to recover from potential dips and losses in website traffic and ranking. Over the years, key updates like Fred, Hummingbird, Pigeon, Payday, Rankbrain, Panda, and more have shaped the direction that SEO campaigns have took. 2020 is no different. Thus, an overhaul of 2019’s crucial Google algorithm updates is integral to creating the best possible SEO campaigns in this new decade.
The B.E.R.T Update (October 25, 2019)
In the words of Google’s executives, the BERT Update is the biggest thing to have hit the search engine since 2015. The acronym stands for Bidirectional Encoder Representation for Transformers. Well, that’s a bit of a mouthful, to say the least. Nonetheless, this update will help google identify 1 out of 10 queries that have no search history. More precisely, BERT will target unknown queries that require natural language processing. The relevancy of search results, as well as featured snippets, will be greatly impacted by this update. As SEO experts, you can tackle BERT with only one tactic. The key is to create natural content that caters to the needs of an audience. Avoid keyword stuffing, or using bot-written content. As of now, BERT is available in 25 countries and is impacting search results in English. However, with time, this update will become functional in more countries and multiple languages.
Broad Core Algorithm Update (September 24, 2019)
Broad core algorithm updates do not target specific features. Instead, they impact a myriad of factors and affect many websites. Undoubtedly, some winners and losers emerge out of such updates. SEO experts found that the September Broad Core Algorithm Update impacted YMYL websites the most. Since no concrete details by Google about the nature of the update are available, nothing can be said for sure. However, from an SEO perspective, the best bet is to focus on E-A-T. 2019 also saw two other Broad Core Algorithm Updates in March and June.
Review Rich Results Update (September 16, 2019)
Google Reviews impact the trustworthiness of a website to some degree. With the advent of this update, websites will be under strict scrutiny from Google with regards to self-serving reviews. This is a step in the right direction for ethical SEO analysts as they’ll no longer need to compete with underhanded practices.
Site Diversity Update (June 6, 2019)
Google announced this update in the form of a Twitter post. The tech-giant asserted that they’ve considered some constructive criticism, and will be improving the diversity of search results. Transactional search queries or queries where the user has a purchase interest were the most affected by this update. Unlike your instincts would lead you to believe, this is great news for Small and Medium Enterprises. This gives them the chance to show up in search queries more frequently by reducing the dominion that giants like Amazon have on the given domain. Moreover, Google is making sure that diversity doesn’t come at the cost of relevancy.
The New Direction
The above-mentioned updates have facilitated a new wave of changes that SEO experts need to account for. Here are some tips to stay on top of your game:-
- Optimize E-A-T: The acronym stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. To improve these attributes, integrate cited sources into your website’s content. Establish trustworthiness by garnering genuine reviews. Hiring an expert to create your content can help in terms of establishing authority.
- Be Mindful of Featured Snippets:- Since the BERT Update directly impact featured snippets, align your SEO practices to account for that.
- Don’t discount Voice Search Optimisation:- Many experts believe that voice search is the future. By optimizing your content strategy accordingly, you can future proof the ranking of your website.
Google Search is getting smarter with each passing year. As SEO analysts, your job is to help websites benefit from the developmental strides that Google is making. Thus, being mindful of the latest algorithm updates is a good place to start!