From time to time, Google introduces changes to their ranking algorithms to make sure they present users with relevant data when they key in search queries.
Businesses that thrive on leads and online traffic need to evaluate and improve their SEO from time to time. Outranking your competition is crucial, especially with businesses using the latest SEO trends to maximise their customer reach.
Here are some of the recent algorithm updates by Google. Learn how to optimise your settings to ensure you constantly snatch a top ranking on Google’s first page.
Date: January 23, 2020
Impact: This recent update restricts URLs that appear in the featured snippet to reappear within the first ten organic search results. This has been done to de-clutter the results and helps users locate relevant content easily.
Solution: This isn’t something to worry about since featured snippets usually get more traffic than the first organic search result. But it may lead to lower clicks since users get the answer they need directly.
The only workaround is to aim for question-based queries and keywords. Think of users that are looking for additional insights and more in-depth explanations.
Date: January 13, 2020
Impact: The broad core algorithm is related to the effect it has on websites. Unlike most updates, it has a significant fluctuation and got noticed earlier this year. Although core updates happen regularly, the impact on search visibility of a website has a substantial effect on the business or an organisation.
Solution: Although there is no quick fix, and the update is here to stay, Google has suggested for webmasters to focus on building quality content.
This focus on content quality will improve search results and have minimal impact on the website with targeted content. Understanding the E-A-T (Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness) mechanics will help lower fluctuations in website ranking and improve contextual search.
Date: December 9, 2019
Impact: The BERT (Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers) in Google Search was announced in over 70 languages. It’s also touted as its most reliable language processing algorithm.
This confirms that the processing algorithm will not only provide keyword results, but also try to understand words in relation to all the other ones in the query. This adds more contextual search to deliver quality results.
Solution: Google will be using BERT to improve its natural language understanding and to optimise search queries. This means websites that apply BERT models increase their chances of ranking on the first page.
Focus on creating quality content and writing copy that includes specific keywords to match the user's query. Make sure to keep the language simple to ensure it has a higher possibility of matching the user queries.
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Date: November 2019
Impact: The update focuses on improving its local search results. The update incorporates neural matching, allowing the search results to go beyond the exact words in a business name or description. Performing SEO based on the neural matching system ranks businesses in local search results higher.
Solution: Relevance, prominence, and distance will be the major parameters to base rankings. This gives local businesses a boost in their locales. For businesses, this improves local online presence and turns local searches in their favour.
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Date: March 12, 2019
Impact: The Florida 2 update is a new algorithm and isn’t related to the first Florida release back in 2003. The update had a massive impact on website rankings. With the goal to improve user satisfaction, the algorithm was rolled out to provide higher quality content first and provide easy access to it.
Solution: The Florida 2 update did not just impact sites. It also helped boost traffic and ranking for websites with higher authority. The only way forward is to get higher ranking by building backlinks, increasing EAT ratings, and following Google Quality Rater Guidelines to stay relevant.
In summary, SEO is all about creating content that is relevant and high quality. At the end of the day, each new update helps search results get closer to mimic human responses and deliver great overall user experience. Put user needs first and up your chances of ranking on Google’s SERPs.
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