Google trends: Google constantly keeps updating its algorithm which comes in the form of updates. These updates are extremely essential not just for web developers and SEO experts but also for various business owners who have their ventures online.
It’s very important to keep yourself posted on the official announcements from Google to know, when and what kind of changes are coming in. The search engine keeps changing and that’s how it evolves.
In this blog post, we have tried to underline the recent updates that Google brought in 2020. The overview basically traces what changes the update brings about in the algorithm, it’s results and how would these little evolutions impact the way you use your website.
The last major update in 2019 before we entered the dreadful new decade was the BERT update which impacted roughly one in every 10 posts. After RankBrain, this has been the biggest change so far. Unveiled on October 25th 2019, BERT stands for Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers. It was open-source last year with details on the Google AI blog. Essentially, the BERT update can assist computers in understanding our languages generally more like we humans do.
How is it used? Google has explained that BERT better understands the nuances and relative meaning of words in searches to match those queries with results that are closer to your subject of interest and relevance. For example, it interprets various minute grammar elements like prepositions and connecting words that hold a lot of meaning and can translate it into results that align better. This update went deeper into refining precise search results even more by making language the medium for understanding searches and their purposes better.
January 13th 2020 – January 2020 Core Update
Google makes it a point to not release information about the specifications of the core updates and hence tallying whether your website’s ranking shifted because of it or another reason is slightly difficult to trace.
Even though these updates do not target particular industries, the sectors that have noticed major ranking shifts in the YMYL (Your Money, Your Life) category includes health, travel, arts, retail, finance, sports & news, and entertainment. Such updates are introduced by Google multiple times a year and there is no way to predict what and who all it will impact.
Analyzing the current update, it impacts all websites in an overall broad way. There are no SERP key points or new criterion on rankings. The update essentially aims to identify websites that have more relevant and comprehensive content so they can be brought into limelight and given due recognition.
Overall, this particular January 2020 core update evaluated the expertise, authority, and trust factors (EAT) that Google highly priorities in everything it does. Once these updates are incorporated into the algorithm, the impacted sites cannot do anything to recover entirely with some barriers to ranking persistent. The update overall asks content writers and creators to focus on the quality criteria keeping in mind the EAT aspects.
As mentioned previously, following the EAT principles that Google lays out can generally improve websites’ SEO. While this is generally good practice and keeps a site healthy, it also could help with bouncing back from the core update. Some good tips on how to improve a site’s EAT Rating can be found here.
It is also extremely essential to keep an eye out for the changes brought by Google and be prepared when they hit. Google regularly posts all the updates on its Twitter handle. Also, you can know when the chances are high with volatility through various tools. The high volatility indicates updated Google algorithms.
If your site has lost engagements and traffic because of impacted rankings, you can always invest in Google ads since these appear even before the organic search results begin. You can also seek professional help from an SEO practitioner or a digital marketing agency to boost your visibility and conversions.
May 4th 2020 – May 2020 Core Update
With this particular update, Google became better at understanding what was being searched for. With a more refined search capacity, the search engine is now capable of identifying various nuanced aspects of the search which weren’t possible earlier. It is now allowing smaller websites with no authority to rank higher for YMYL searches. This is simply because the search engine sees them more credible with content that comes from real-life expertise that could be more useful for the searcher. Just like all its other core updates, this one also re-evaluated many aspects of EAT (expertise, authority, and trust).
Usually, when websites see a decline in rankings, it is rarely due to a single root cause and has various factors to blame. In chasing quantity and ticking a checklist of requirements website owners often forget to pay attention to the real deal: content.
No matter what, content is king for everything, be it an SEO practice, your website layout, or a simple social media campaign. To align your site better with the updates thoroughly go through the official guidelines and blog posts on core updates by Google itself. Then assess what are the quality standards that are Google’s basic now and see how much of those does your website embody. The quality checks can be self while you can also opt for a survey or user testing to get a more unbiased review and analysis.