Google’s algorithm and ranking process may be complete gibberish to you, but that does not make it any less important. In fact, putting in the time and money to implement the best search engine optimisation (SEO) strategy for your business will be incredibly beneficial in the long run.

Essentially, the genius behind Google’s algorithms makes it very simple for a customer to find the best match to what they are searching for. There are billions of websites indexed on Google, so it is only natural that there should be a system in place for the available information to be categorised in a matter of seconds.

This is precisely why it is vital for your business to utilise these search engine optimisation practices – ultimately to draw clients or customers to your website and convert them into sales, leads or conversions.

Google updates fall into two categories: smaller, daily updates and larger updates that happen several times a year (broad core updates). Keep on reading to understand what these really mean and why they are necessary.

Broad Core Updates 

According to Google, they perform hundreds of updates throughout the year, many of which go unnoticed. What is known as a broad core update, however, can cause more of a visible change throughout websites ranked on the search engine.

Depending on various factors, like which search terms are currently popular for example, will determine which websites get ranked higher when Google performs this update. The important thing to note is that a broad core update does not target a specific category, nor is it based on the quantity of a website’s content.

The reason why Google carries out these larger updates is to improve search results. They are focused on providing users with the most accurate and relevant information. In order for this to happen, webpages will experience different outcomes; whether that is higher or lower ranking. Naturally, this depends on the quality of the content of the website and the relevancy to certain search terms. 

Featured Snippet Deduplication: 

Landing a place as a Featured Snippet on Google’s search results is a very good way to increase clicks through to your website. In the past, if you were featured in a snippet, you would be the first website seen in the search results, in addition to a second organic listing on the page. Google has removed this now, and instead of appearing twice, the website in the featured snippet will only have its organic listing on one of the following search pages.

The reason for this update was to declutter the first page of Google’s search results by removing these duplicated websites and creating space for other ones.

Both marketers and businesses have noticed changes in their metrics as a result of this update, which did take some time to roll out completely, such as click through rate and session duration. This is because users are now able to get the information that satisfies their search from a featured snippet rather than having to click through to the dedicated page, resulting in lower levels of traffic. However, it’s clear that those who do click through are more qualified, and therefore more likely to be engaged, travel throughout the website and even convert. 

BERT: 

The algorithm known as BERT stands for Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers. This update was implemented to improve the recognition of search queries in Google for over 70 languages.

The aim is that once Google (or BERT) understands a search query better than before, it will be able to direct users to websites that are even more relevant.

BERT is deemed one of the more significant updates for Google, as it makes search queries a lot more organic for the user. In other words, users can type in a search query using more informal language and still get the applicable results. This process is known as natural language processing (NLP) and this Artificial Intelligence technology helps Google to understand the context in which a search query falls.

This was implemented from Google as more and more people use voice search and therefore are much more colloquial with their queries. Furthermore, it highlights yet another step away from old school SEO tactics with exact match keywords that result in poor grammar, ultimately better satisfying Google’s searchers.

RankBrain: 

The algorithm known as RankBrain was the predecessor of BERT, though it was never replaced by BERT. RankBrain had a similar purpose to BERT, which was to recognise search queries and web content, in order to relate the search query to the context.

Today, Google makes use of both BERT and RankBrain in different instances, sometimes even being incorporated together. In both cases, a user’s search results will yield a more accurate selection of web content because of the nature of these algorithms.

The Latest Algorithm Update: 

The latest broad core update, which took place in May 2020, introduced what is known as Core Web Vitals. This algorithm update looks at data concerning a user’s experience and behaviour on a website, the website’s loading speed, and once again the content, among other things.

Google mentioned the significance of E-A-T (Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness – explained in more detail below), as well as understanding the ranking process of lengthy content in contrast to relevant content.

The main thing to understand in terms of this latest update is that Google is interested in web content that is suitable to users’ search queries, instead of lengthier content that may include a lot more information. The deciding factor is the assessment of users’ reactions, first and foremost. In other words, is the content relevant to what the user has searched for, as opposed to a long piece of content that is only somewhat relevant to the user’s search.

What is E-A-T? 

Quality content is, understandably, a common theme in Google’s algorithms. In Google terms, E-A-T stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. A website that has content aligning with E-A-T will have a stronger chance of ranking well. Google will use signals from a website and consider whether these add to the overall E-A-T of that website.

Why Understanding These Algorithm Updates Is Important: 

The World Wide Web is experiencing usage unlike ever before. The circumstances of 2020 have shown just how imperative it is to have an established online presence. Knowing how to maintain a good ranking in Google will make your online presence even stronger, however, knowing the ins and outs of the algorithms is not as easy as reading a few articles on it.

Google implements these updates to consistently improve the user’s experience. This means that Google collects data concerning user activity and behaviour, and alters its algorithm to adapt to that. Keeping this in mind, maintaining excellent content on your website, and regularly updating it will play a big role in determining its success.

According to Google, and as was mentioned above, their updates do not focus on how much information is provided or in any particular categories. Rather, the websites that continuously rank high are the ones who are producing credible content that users want to engage with and actively search for – regardless of what category they are in.

Search engine optimisation strategies are therefore so important. The tactics implemented through SEO will only serve you in keeping up with Google’s updates in a way that does not leave you frantic. Producing the content that your customers want to see will establish your authority within the World Wide Web. Knowing what it is that will capture your audience’s attention, keep them interested, and perhaps convince them to make a purchase, all form part of the ranking process.

Where To Go From Here: 

There is always a lot going on behind the scenes in terms of Google’s algorithms and their continuous work on making the search engine as accurate as possible for users. With this being said, understanding it all is not exactly practical, but the basic tenets of the algorithms can be.

Focusing on producing quality content that is specific to what users are searching for seems to be the best way to go in terms of these updates. If you do one thing, make sure it is implementing SEO practices into your website. In today’s climate it is more important than ever when trying to expand your presence and gain expertise status online.

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