Who run the world? Google of course! Or, at least it seems like it right? Sure you have other search engines and platforms that also dictate who and how people see your content (don’t get us started on Facebook and Twitter). But, Google is definitely a heavy-hitter. In fact, Google receives over 3.5 billion searches a day and saturates almost 80% of the search engine market.
When there is such a monopoly, it’s important that your marketing and SEO team stay up to date on key changes that happen within these tool. Below, we’re going to jump into some of the latest Google algorithm updates and more. But first, let’s get a few things straight.
- Google is constantly updating their algorithm, sometimes multiple times a day. However, most of these are so small and insufficient that they have little to no impact on website ranking.
- Despite the updates we are about to discuss, Google’s overall key ranking factors have stayed relatively the same for years now, the updates are just ways of helping them sort through websites to showcase the best ones that meet their criteria.
- Follow the golden rule and focus on E.A.T – Expertise, Authority, Trust. Promote these elements through your content, design, and overall user experience and you’ve set yourself up for success.
March Core Update
The first major update this year came in March. Confirmed by Google on March 13th, the update continued over the next few days as sites saw rank increases.
You can learn more here: Broad Core Update
June Core Update
On June 2nd, Google’s Danny Sullivan tweeted about a pending algorithm update expended to roll out soon. Rank fluctuations increased starting on the 3rd and started to decrease again around the 5th.
You can learn more here: John Mueller Discusses
On the week of October 21, 2019, Google made the biggest change since RankBrain in 2015. BERT influences 1 in 10 queries. However, many are not notices changes as it specifically targeted long-tail keywords and focused on better understanding more complex, conversational terms.
You can learn more here: Welcome BERT!
Other Google News
As you may know, algorithm updates aren’t the only thing Google has been throwing around during 2019. In fact, they have been playing with display and features across the SERPs and other tools. Below we have highlighted some of the major updates.
Google My Business Changes
In mid-late June, Google My Business announced that they were giving more power to local businesses with the help of some great features. You can now:
- Set preferred photos
- Better display logos
- Create welcome offers for new customers who follow the business on GMB
- Create a short name that makes it easier for people to find your business on GMB
- Share reviews by creating social posts
The month of July started off strong with Google officially announcing that they will no longer honor nofollow/noindex within the robots.txt file. This all starts September 1st. Here’s what Google had to say:
“While open-sourcing our parser library, we analyzed the usage of robots.txt rules. In particular, we focused on rules unsupported by the internet draft, such as crawl-delay, nofollow, and noindex. Since these rules were never documented by Google, naturally, their usage in relation to Googlebot is very low. Digging further, we saw their usage was contradicted by other rules in all but 0.001% of all robots.txt files on the internet. These mistakes hurt websites’ presence in Google’s search results in ways we don’t think webmasters intended.”
However, there are areas that they will still honor. They include:
- Noindex in meta tags
- 404 and 410 HTTP status codes
- Password protection
- Disallow in robots.txt
- Search Console remove tool (removes URLs from Google results)
For awhile sites have been able to test AMP and mobile friendliness through various Google tools by simply putting in the URL and having the program crawl the page. However, now they are taking it a step further. In late March, Google announced that they would be adding in the ability to edit code inline within both the AMP test and the mobile-friendly test. Essentially, you can now run the tools through the URL, make code changes in the tool’s code editor, rerun the test, and see the outcome. Great for troubleshooting!
July 2019, Google Images has now implemented a new way to navigate and view. According to SearchEngineLand, Google now has a “swipe to visit” feature. This will then generate a preview of an AMP website header. Users can then swipe up on the preview to load the image’s corresponding web page.
As of September 10, 2019, Google has added new link attributes as well as updated its “nofollow” attribute. Here is the run down:
- “sponsored” – These can now be used to identify links that are created as part of advertisements, sponsorships, and other compensations.
- “ugc” – This is recommended for links within user generated content.
- “nofollow” Update – This will now be referred to as a hint for ranking purposes.
Stay tuned for more Google Algorithm and tool updates to come!