All round the year, Google had constantly been updating its search algorithm, and the frequency is increasing day by day.In 2018, Google made 3,200 changes to its search algorithm. Then, in 2019, Google introduced many updates to its algorithms that may change the entire scenario of search traffic and rankings.Following is a summary of all the confirmed updates of 2019, that may help you to understand these changes better.
BERT stands for Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers. It is a neural network-based open-source technique for Natural Language Processing (NLP) pre-training, introduced by Google on October 22, 2019. It is one of the biggest updates in the past 5 years.
The objective of BERT is to improve the search engine’s understanding of both voice and written searches. It analyzes search queries, and not the web pages. Like, when a user makes a query, its context should be analyzed. This update helps Google to understand the aim behind the search queries by users’. This implies that the user can get more relevant search results.
Initially, Google had introduced the BERT update, only for the English language, later more languages were added. Now, the BERT update is rolling out over 70 languages worldwide. The natural language processing capabilities of BERT are also applied to all Bing searches globally. According to the Google, only organic visibility and traffic will be affected by this update. BERT may also affect the search results showcased in featured snippets.
You must be thinking about how to optimize for BERT?
Danny Sullivan told that there is no rule to optimize for BERT. You just need to focus on creating high quality and relevant content.
On September 24, 2019, the Google announced another broad core update to its algorithm. This update came up to lay a bigger impact on search engine rankings for YMYL sites.
YMYL is an abbreviation of Your Money, Your Life. YMYL pages contain content that may impact the health, safety, future happiness or financial stability of users.
YMYL topics include:
Google takes such type of content very seriously, as the user experience is the most crucial. In another aspect, this type of content may be risky. According to the Google search quality guidelines, section 2.3m, if anyone creates a YMYL webpage, it could devastate users’ lives.
Both Sistrix and RankRanger noted that sites within the travel and medical niches were heavily affected by this update.
For the first time in history, Google has pre-announced its algorithm update, just a day before the rollout. On June 3rd, 2019 Google SearchLiaison announced that the update began rolling out which was officially named as “June 2019 Core Update”.
This major core update took about five days to finish. The update aims to display a more diverse set of search results from different domain names for a particular query. This implies that G
Google aims not to show more than two results related to the same domain in the top search results. Google states that “the diversity update means that you will not see more than two listings from the same domain in search results.” This core update affects only top-ranked stories, snippets, videos and listings.
After this core update, many news related websites experienced a notable drop in their Google rankings. A news site named “DailyMail” witnessed a 50% drop in traffic.
This core update did not just hit hard search traffic, but also changed the layout of search engine result pages, resulting in increased video carousels in searches.
This encourages the trend of video marketing as video results get ranked higher than other results in search engine result pages.
On April 5, 2019, Google announced that the de-indexing issue is fixed. Because of this issue, many website owners experienced an immediate drop in their search engine rankings. Google took three days to fix this issue, and claimed that the issue got fixed but not fully resolved.
Lately, Google introduced another update on May 23, 2019. This was not a big update in comparison with others. Google was sweltering with two different indexing bugs that were effecting websites a lot, especially the news sites. News sites always rely upon the latest and fresh content, thus they affected the most. These indexing bugs obstruct the new content from being indexed, which is the most important part of search engine optimization.
After Google got hit with de-indexing issues, this was another major blip. You may have encountered fluctuations in your search traffic during this period; it’s because of these updates only. Finally, on May 23, 2019, the issue of indexing was resolved completely.
This was the first major core update of the year. On March 12, 2019, Google rolled out a core update to its algorithms. Initially, the SEO community called this update “Florida 2”, as it coincides with Pubcon, which was the first Florida update that was made in November 2003.
But, officially this was named “March 2019 Core Update”. After this update, many websites got affected. Some of them witnessed improvements, while some encountered losses too. Majorly, medical sites were affected by this core update. According to a survey, 58% of the people saw a negative effect of this update, 33% of the people said they saw a positive change to their rankings and traffic, and 9% witnessed no change at all.
Every year, Google rolls out numerous algorithm updates, and so the recent one it did was in December 2020, which was the third time in the year, with first and second ones in January 2020 and May 2020 respectively.
Well, in this update, Google has advised on factors to be considered if your website is negatively impacted by the core update, though it certainly does not indicate of your website’s shortfalls in any aspect.
Approximately, 500 to 600 updates are made every year! Only the major updates are announced by search engine giants. Undoubtedly, each of the updates from Google is a step to make the search experience more meaningful, and easy for the users. So, it’s important for every SEO professional to set their eyes on the upcoming updates as well as latest SEO trends.