Google's search algorithm is constantly evolving, and the search engine giant makes updates regularly to improve the user experience. These updates affect how websites are ranked on Google search results pages, and website owners need to keep up with them to maintain their visibility online. In this blog post, we will explore the five most recent major updates that Google has made to its search algorithm.
Product Reviews Update 2023
Google's Product Reviews Update aims to reward websites that offer high-quality product reviews, providing insightful analysis and original research written by experts or enthusiasts who have in-depth knowledge of the topic. The system evaluates product review content on a page-level basis, prioritizing in-depth research over thin content that merely summarizes a bunch of products.
For websites with a substantial amount of product review content, the entire site might be evaluated by the update. However, for websites that have only a few product reviews, a site-wide evaluation is unlikely to occur. The update currently applies to several languages globally, including English, Spanish, German, French, Italian, Vietnamese, Indonesian, Russian, Dutch, Portuguese, and Polish.
The update means that website owners need to focus on creating high-quality product review content that provides valuable insights and original research. Structured data might help Google better identify product reviews, but it's not the only factor that Google considers. The update's impact on a website might not be immediate, and any changes in ranking can happen at any time for various reasons.
Link Spam Update 2023
Link spam is a common tactic used to manipulate website rankings by creating low-quality backlinks that point to a website. Google's Link Spam Update aims to counter this by targeting websites that use these spammy techniques to improve their rankings. The update applies to specific types of link spam, including paid links, link exchanges, and links in low-quality content.
Google uses automated systems like SpamBrain, an AI-based spam-prevention system, to detect link spam. From time to time, the search engine giant improves these systems to catch new types of link spam better. Websites that violate Google's spam policies may see a significant drop in ranking or may not appear in search results at all. Therefore, it's essential to review these policies regularly and ensure your website is complying with them.
In case of a link spam update, making changes might not generate an immediate improvement because any ranking benefit that spammy links may have generated previously would be lost when Google removes the effects of such links. This means that any potential ranking benefits generated by spammy links cannot be regained. Therefore, it's critical to ensure that your website is not using any of the spammy link tactics that Google targets in its update.
Helpful Content Update 2022
Google's Helpful Content Update aims to promote original, helpful content written by people, for people, in search results. The system generates a site-wide signal that Google uses along with many other signals to rank content in search results, including Discover. The goal of the system is to reward content that provides visitors with a satisfying experience and to demote content that has little or low-added value or is otherwise not helpful.
The system uses an entirely automated, machine-learning model to classify unhelpful content. It works globally across all languages and is not a manual or spam action. The system identifies sites that have relatively high amounts of unhelpful content overall and reduces the performance of all content on those sites in search results. Therefore, removing unhelpful content from a site can help the rankings of other content on the same site.
Websites should focus on creating helpful, reliable, people-first content instead of search-engine-first content to be successful with the helpful content system. Google's help page on how to create helpful, reliable people-first content provides useful questions that website owners can ask themselves when assessing their content.
Search Core Update 2022
Several times a year, Google makes significant, broad changes to its search algorithms and systems, which it calls core updates. Google announces these updates on its list of Google Search ranking updates. Core updates aim to ensure that the search engine giant delivers helpful and reliable results for searchers.
There is nothing wrong with pages that may not perform as well as they did before a core update. These pages have not violated Google's spam policies or been subjected to manual or algorithmic action, as can happen to pages that violate those policies. Core updates are about improving how Google's systems assess content overall. These changes may cause some pages that were previously under-rewarded to perform better in search results.
Assessing your content is essential after a core update. Google suggests focusing on ensuring that you're offering the best content you can because that's what Google's algorithms seek to reward. Google's help page on how to create helpful, reliable people-first content can help you create content that performs well in search results. You can also consider an audit of the pages that were most impacted and for what types of searches to understand how these pages may perform against the self-assessment questions.
It's important to note that there is no guarantee of recovery after a core update, even if site owners make improvements. Google's search algorithms are constantly evolving, and even smaller core updates can cause content to recover if improvements warrant. However, if there's more deserving content, that content will continue to rank well with Google's systems.
Page Experience Ranking Update 2022
The Page Experience Update is a significant change that Google will be making to their desktop ranking system, which is set to begin in February 2022 and will be complete by the end of March 2022. This change is based on the same page experience signals that were rolled out for mobile earlier in the year.
The update will focus on the three Core Web Vitals metrics: Largest Contentful Paint (LCP), Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS), and First Input Delay (FID), as well as the absence of intrusive interstitials and HTTPS security. However, mobile friendliness will not be a factor for desktop ranking.
To help site owners prepare for the upcoming changes, Google is planning to provide a Search Console report that will allow site owners to understand how their desktop pages are performing with regards to page experience. This will launch before desktop becomes a ranking signal.
By optimizing their pages for page experience and improving page speed, site owners can build better websites and improve their rankings in Google search results. If you have any questions or feedback about the Page Experience Update, Google encourages you to visit their help forums or let them know directly.
Mobile-indexing Update 2021
Google has completed the switch to mobile-first indexing for all websites. This means that the mobile version of a website is the primary version that is crawled and indexed by Google. If a website does not have a mobile version, the desktop version will still be crawled and indexed.
If your website is not mobile-friendly, it may not rank as well in search results. It's important to ensure that your website is optimized for mobile devices to provide a better user experience and improve your search rankings.
To check if your website is mobile-friendly, you can use Google's Mobile-Friendly Test tool. If your website is not mobile-friendly, you should work on making it more mobile-friendly. You can use Google's Mobile-Friendly Guide to learn more about how to make your website mobile-friendly. Also, ensure that your team is aware of how a webpage design affects SEO metrics while designing the page.
It's important to note that even if your website is mobile-friendly, it's still important to ensure that it provides a good user experience on all devices. This includes fast page load times, easy navigation, and high-quality content.
Monitor the updates
Staying up-to-date with search algorithm updates is crucial for maintaining a successful online presence. Google frequently releases minor and major upgrades to their algorithms, and website owners must be aware of how to update their sites to comply with these changes. It's also essential to ensure that you have the right team in place to manage your website's SEO strategy. Testing potential hires for their SEO skills using Online SEO test can help you find the right people for the job. By staying on top of algorithm updates and having a skilled team, you can improve your website's search engine rankings and drive more traffic to your site.