October 6, 2021
Google as a search engine is constantly evolving, making sure that it covers the most accurate data and pages for its users. New algorithms are introduced frequently throughout the year, and are sometimes announced in passing. This specific list is based solely on confirmed algorithm updates, not the unconfirmed.
The Google Algorithm is a complex system used to gather the most relevant data from its search index in order to provide the best possible results for its users. Google uses a blend of ranking factors to deliver the relevant rankings to the SERPS (search engine results page).
Knowing which different updates have surfaced helps users to keep in line with best practice and understand what impacts this has on SEO performance. Here is a round up of all the Google algorithm updates in the last 12 months in chronological order:
For the December Core Update, there are no precise workings which showcase the nature of the update – instead, common themes were noticed such as relevancy. While this may seem like a small incremental gain, the Core Update prior to this was in May 2020 which leaves a 7 month gap for website owners.
This Core Update had a substantial impact on the SERPs (search engine results page). In the history of Core Update impacts, Google’s December Core Update was similar to the May 2020 Core Update.
The passage indexing (passage ranking) update which was rolled out on Feb 10th 2021 was seen as an intense breakthrough. With this update, Google now uses AI (artificial intelligence) to answer specific queries, instead of making users look through web pages to find it.
The key takeaway for passage ranking is to focus your optimisation efforts on introducing long form content (if you don’t already) with clear optimised headings throughout and targeting with long tail keywords in content.
The goal of the Google Product Reviews update was to encourage more of an in-depth product review which ensured less comments for products were made. The new Google update recommends you should now:
The Google Core Update was a rollout which began on June 2nd, with the next instalment following shortly after in July 2021. This update was more of an unprecedented move – some extensive changes were made to the Google algorithm but this couldn’t be finished in one go, so the update was rolled out in two parts.
Google’s June 2021 Spam Update was implemented on web page and image results but not the local results. The update had two phases and was set to last one day but instead lasted 2 weeks longer than anticipated.
Many details were not given about this update, but as it is a Spam Update it’s always best to make sure your website is protected. Here are a couple of tips to protect your website from potential spammers:
The Page Experience Update was enhanced in June 2021. Google introduced a specific set of metrics to improve the page experience including:
Core Web Vitals is not a new metric but rather a more prioritised factor for page experience. The Core Web Vitals include:
Real data can be accessed in Search Console and each report provides advice on how to improve CWV for individual pages.
On July 1st Google released a global Core Update which was not specific to any language, region, or category of web sites. The July 2021 Core Update was a follow up to the June update and lasted from July 1st to July 12th – that’s 10 days longer than the previous Google Core Update back in June 2021.
However, Google was light on specifics. To put it simply, there was no focus on this update but just a ‘broad core update’.
The whole idea behind Google doing these global updates is so that it can improve it’s algorithm and provide a better experience for users in the search results. Although the update did see some big changes in ranking positions, nothing too drastic came of it.
In conclusion, Google continually updates it’s algorithm to monitor their websites’ performance, refines strategies and adopt best practices. The updates covered in this blog post are as follows: