Google changes its search algorithms more than a hundred times every year. Some of these updates are minor and more frequent. These generally tackle bugs from other updates the company makes to its search engine. Then there are major updates that are infrequent but have a huge impact on the way the platform presents organic search results.
Major Google Algorithm Updates Over the Years
In both cases, the updates are necessary to provide users with the best and most accurate search results. However, to understand the impact these updates have, let’s look at some of the major ones Google has made over the years.
- Panda, 2011: Google takes the initiative of punishing sites with repetitive content.
- Hummingbird, 2013: Google changes its algorithms to incorporate better search results into user search queries.
- Mobilegeddon, 2015: Google starts ranking mobile-friendly websites.
- RankBrain, 2015: Google starts considering the personal history while coming up with its search engine results.
- BERT, 2019: Google starts giving well-structured content higher ranks on its search results page.
Thus, it’s easy to see that these updates are vital and can make or break a website’s rankings on Google Search. Now we need to see why Google keeps making these changes to their algorithm and why businesses should stay up-to-date with the updates.
Why is the Google Algorithm So Important?
Google’s search algorithm decides how the engine interprets search queries and provides the search results. The algorithm dictates how far up a page or website will rank on any given SERP – Search Engine Results Page.
SEO algorithms ensure that a website or piece of content follows a set of codes or instructions. The algorithms scan the internet and rank sites or content based on how well they follow those codes or instructions. Google assigns these websites scores based on their ability to stick to those instructions. It then ranks or arranges them on its SERPs accordingly.
Not following the instructions laid down by Google means the search engine will not rank your website or content on its SERPs. You might receive a rank lower than your competitors even if it does. That’s something you don’t want, given that most of your potential customers or target audience will only click on links that rank higher.
As of 2020, there are over 32 million registered businesses in the United States. That’s an increase of over 3 million in just two years. However, only half of these 32 million businesses benefit from Google’s services. Only 2 million of those businesses benefit from Google Ads, while the rest rely on organic listings.
The ones that rely on paid search ads are doing much better. However, Google wants an equal playing field for all. Thus, it’s regularly updating the algorithms to accommodate all these businesses.
What Happens When Google Updates Its Algorithms
All of Google’s algorithm updates are targeted. That means the platform only changes specific areas of the algorithms or redefines the way they work.
The updates usually change the SERP features and how they can be optimized. Google can dictate how a SERP will display results through these changes or updates. The website can also decide which websites or content will get preference for queries and which ones will not rank on the top of its search rankings.
Google can also rearrange the list of domains that show up on top of a search results page. It makes these rearrangements based on the domains’ performances over the last year or few months. Google’s decision ultimately comes down to which domain has strictly followed its instructions and avoided adopting malicious ways to rank higher.
Why Should Businesses Stay Updated on These Algorithm Changes
Businesses want to rank higher on Google’s SERPs, and they want to do so without paying for ads. Doing so becomes a problem when Google keeps updating its algorithms. On average, there are at least two or three changes every day. So, to keep up with the ever-changing nature of search engine algorithms, businesses must keep themselves updated.
To understand how the updates will change the dynamics of the platform, you’ll need to familiarize yourself with past major algorithm updates. Take into account how those updates were timed, what major changes they made, and what Google suggested businesses do once those updates were fully released.
Based on these small details, you’ll find a way to understand how these update trends work and what Google might seek to achieve next. We would also advise you to check the internet for new updates. For example, Google has already started implementing MUM (Multitask Unified Model), which is going to replace BERT soon. So, when the update finally hits, you can adapt to the new instructions Google has in stores for you and your business or website.