Google is by far the most popular and powerful search engine on the web. It consistently ranks as one of the most popular websites in the world, with around 75.1 billion visits logged every single month. For this reason, business owners and Search Engine Optimization professionals keep a very close eye on how Google changes it’s search algorithms. The Google search algorithms determine how well a website is ranked based upon an ever-changing set of parameters. Due to Google’s immense popularity, the ranking of a website can make or break a business. Here are some of the changes that Google has made over this past year.
February 10th: Passage Ranking
Danny Sullivan, Google’s public liaison for search, announced that the search engine giant would be placing more of an emphasis on ranking passages of text from websites. This does not mean that entire pages would be discarded when ranking them, but rather that passages and entire pages would be considered as ranking factors. SEO consultants like Brad Fogel offer site audits to help businesses optimize text passages and whole pages alike.
April 8th: Product Reviews Update
Product reviews online have a rather cowboy reputation. At their worst, reviews were nothing short of reworded promotional materials or unfounded slander. Google’s April ranking algorithm update was intended to reward genuine reviews with good search engine ranking. This is part of a general drive to increase the quality of search results. Google released a set of guidelines for review creators that outlined what their algorithm would consider a worthwhile review of a product. Essentially, if review content displays high levels of expertise and research, then it will likely rank well.
June 2nd: Broad Core Algorithm Update
Google made sweeping reforms to their algorithm in June, with the update focusing on page quality ranking factors and expert knowledge ranking factors. This was an attempt to reward genuinely researched online content and do away with misleading or poorly conceived reviews, blogs, and social media posts. It may not be a coincidence that Google started to put a great deal of emphasis on expertise ranking after several years of public concern over information politics and online political manipulation.
June 15th: Page Experience Update
This update focused on rewarding websites that were easily navigable and broadly accessible. Google played down the idea of this update causing large shifts in rankings and instead emphasized that any spikes or drastic drops in rankings would be temporary for well-designed sites. Page experience remains a high-priority ranking factor, and developers should keep this in mind when designing an SEO-friendly site.
June 23rd: Spam Update
Spam has always been a huge problem on the World Wide Web, and Google is attempting to ensure that it stays out of people’s search results. Legitimate websites will not likely see much change in their rankings because of this update. Essentially, the June 23rd spam update was aimed at cutting out useless or exploitative websites to make searcher the web safer for users.