Google algorithm updates resulted in Google making a total of over 3,000 updates to its search engine in the past year! Meaning that it is important to understand and stay updated to the major Google algorithm updates over time to adapt for higher web page rankings in the future.
Don’t worry though, you do not need to know every single Google algorithm update all at once, as the smaller updates are so slight that you may not even notice them. However, it’s the larger updates that you should watch out for that can make a much bigger impact and affect your search page ranking if you’re not up to date.
A process or set of rules to be followed in calculations or other problem-solving operations, especially by a computer.
Understanding Google algorithm updates:
A Google algorithm update is a complex system used to retrieve data from it’s search index to deliver the best results for a search query. Google’s search engines use a mix of both algorithms and ranking signals to deliver and show web pages on it’s search engine results pages.
(via Search Engine Journal)
To understand Google algorithm updates better, here are a few examples of some major past updates:
🐦 Google Hummingbird: This update was implemented to provide better ‘conversational search’ results due to the increasing number of users typing longer phrases based on human thoughts and desires. This led to needing better results for more human-centric and more accurate search intents. This update also helped improve the Google Voice Search to help users get more accurate search results from spoken voices.
🐧 Google Penguin: This update was designed specifically to reduce as much web spam as possible, and was done by finding and tackling low-quality pages. This update only affected the out-bound links from web pages to other sites.
🐼 Google Panda: Made to reduce low-quality, thin content on web pages and, instead, promoted high-quality and compelling content on web pages. This update was designed to ensure lower-rankings for low-quality web pages; as they were causing poor experiences for more users. This update identified low-quality web pages by: direct copy of content from other websites without approval, low-quality page design, poor web performance and less-useful content. Instead, the update favored websites with higher quality content that were able to help and educate their users. This was identified by web-pages containing: original content, in-depth reports, thoughtful research, analysis and more.
🧠 Google RankBrain: The RankBrain update was implemented to utilize and leverage Artificial Intelligence (AI). This new update used AI to help computers guess better for a searcher’s word or phrase to match with a similar meaning to gain more behavioral search results. This update proved well for newer and never-seen-before search queries and helped open up more creative search possibilities.
🕊️ Google Pigeon: This update was designed to improve Google’s local search capabilities. This was done by improving the ranking signals throughout Google Maps and Google Search – allowing further improvements for Google’s location & distance parameters to provide better local and more relevant results to users based on location and proximity.
Now that we know more about Google’s updates from the past, let’s dive into the major Google algorithm update coming up in the future:
The major changes coming up are going to be about web page user experience, or web page UX
This means making sure that your web pages throughout your website provide a great user experience (UX) for visitors who make more page interactions, stay on the pages longer and keep returning for more. Your whole website does not necessarily need to provide great UX altogether, but rather to make sure that the majority of your web pages provide great UX and outweigh the ones that don’t. Google will calculate UX quality by web pages, not websites.
So how can you make sure that your web pages will provide good enough UX?
Here is how:
Web page speed: make sure that you optimize your web page speed and reduce any ‘400 errors‘ to run for optimal performance. It is recommended that your website loads at maximum of 3 seconds; ideally within 1.5 seconds or even less if possible.
Mobile-optimization: Your web pages should be as mobile-friendly as possible, especially due to the increasing number of internet users browsing on mobile devices compared to desktops. Make sure that the screen size, design and UX of your web page fits and works well for a mobile device. This online tool can help you see if your web page is mobile friendly.
Avoid inserting ads or pop-ups: Unnecessary ads or pop-ups can negatively lead to poor web-page user experience. Pop-ups cause your web-page to scroll and change in different directions without the user’s input – causing possibilities for the user to miss-click certain buttons which can lead to high annoyance and back-out clicks. It’s best to have the least amount of distractions on your web page as possible with minimalist designs. If you do have ads on your web-pages, it is important for the ads to be safe, truthful and non-malicious. The Google Safe Browsing feature works to help protect users by identifying possible malicious content and showing a warning for the user before they even enter the web page. Don’t be this web page. Google will rank your page lower if this warning shows up for users.
HTTPS ranking boost: A HTTPS is a secure method of exchanging information online to protect online transferred data. Therefore, switching from a HTTP to a HTTPS and adding a SSL 2048-bit key certificate will give you a ranking benefit through showing more credible online security. Google is encouraging more web-site owners to switch from a standard HTTP to HTTPS to increase web safety. A HTTPS signal has also proven to show positive results towards relevance and ranking in Google’s search results.
Other web vitals to know
Loading time: Measuring web page loading performance to be within or less than 3 seconds.
Interactivity: Measures the user interactions on your web-page. To qualify for good UX on a web-page, it is suggested to have a First Input Delay score of 100 milliseconds.
Visual stability: Measuring the visual stability of your web page. This means having a good Layout-Shift score of ideally less than 0.1
Web page speed, mobile-optimization and non-malicious content along with fast-loading times, strong page interactivity and visual stability all play core parts in the success of your overall web page UX.
Analyse your web page design:
Design your web pages to ensure good UX and UI. Use metrics from customer behavior on web pages and tailor your web designs towards what your users are clicking for.
Tools such as Crazy Egg help reveal a heat-map on your web pages – showing which parts of the web page your users are clicking on the most. Use this data to design your web page according to user behaviors to help improve your web page UX. For example, if you see users hovering or clicking on an icon on your page, then make sure that the icon can be clicked-on (even if there’s already a button next to it) to lead the user towards content that is relevant to that icon. Small but vital changes like this can dramatically boost your web page UX.
“Brands are the solution, not the problem… brands are how you sort out the cesspool.”
– Eric Schmidt, former CEO of Google
Brands continue to dominate in accordance with Google’s algorithm updates. It’s clear that as your brand grows, so will your SEO traffic.
You don’t need to have a big brand name – the large majority of websites on the web aren’t big brands – but they still rank well due to having a strong brand that aligns with the strong UX of their web pages that keeps users staying longer and returning for more.
Great content is vital for future Google algorithm updates.
When will this update happen?
Google announced that this major update will take place in the year 2021. Therefore, we now still have a good amount of time to prepare and make the necessary changes to adapt to these updates.
(via Search Engine Land)
The next Google algorithm update will be determined by the web page user experience of users. Tailor your web pages on your website in accordance to web page speed, mobile-optimization, behavioral web page design, and great on-page content.
Whilst SEO factors are important for your web page ranking, it should not be the only focus. The core focus should be on improving the user experience based on human-centric behaviors on your web page, because at the end of the day, Google will tailor all future algorithms according to what humans want and are asking for.
Optimize your web pages not only for SEO purposes, but more for humans too. Do this by 2021, and when the update commences, you will be well up to date and on the road to ranking higher than ever on Google’s search engine.
Do you need you need help with your web page UX and SEO? Get in touch with us below to see how we can help you!
“The art of life is a constant re-adjustment to our surroundings.” – Kakuzo Okakaura
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