Google's algorithms are a complex system that allows Google to retrieve, rank, and deliver the most relevant pages in response to a query. Since the information on the web is ever-changing, Google updates its algorithms thousands of times a year. Most of these updates go unnoticed. Occasionally, however, Google makes significant algorithm updates that could impact a page's ranking on the search engine results page (SERP). Thus, it pays to take note of these algorithm updates when planning your SEO strategy.
Listed below are the updates to Google's algorithm for the year 2021.
Passage Ranking Update
In February 2021, Google announced that, with the use of artificial intelligence (AI), they could index web pages and the passages from those pages in response to a query. The query is highlighted, so users don't have to read the entire page.
“About this result” Update (February 2021)
On February 1, 2021, Google started providing additional information on the results of queries without the need to open the link or do another search. Next to most results on Google, they added a menu icon that, when clicked on, can give information such as a Wikipedia mini-description, where the information is coming from, etc. This added feature does not affect a page's ranking.
Click here to read about the “About this result” update.
Product Reviews Update
In April 2021, Google announced that they had launched an improvement to their Google Search ranking system, named product reviews update. Google aims to reward content that provides more in-depth research or shows expertise in the product reviewed. Product reviews update could impact a page’s ranking.
Below are some helpful guide questions provided by Google to content creators to help them do product reviews.
Express expert knowledge about products where appropriate?
Show what the product is like physically, or how it is used, with unique content beyond what’s provided by the manufacturer?
Provide quantitative measurements about how a product measures up in various categories of performance?
Explain what sets a product apart from its competitors?
Cover comparable products to consider, or explain which products might be best for certain uses or circumstances?
Discuss the benefits and drawbacks of a particular product, based on research into it?
Describe how a product has evolved from previous models or releases to provide improvements, address issues, or otherwise help users make a purchase decision?
Identify key decision-making factors for the product's category and how the product performs in those areas? For example, a car review might determine that fuel economy, safety, and handling are key decision-making factors and rate performance in those areas.
Describe key choices in how a product has been designed and their effect on the users beyond what the manufacturer says?
In May 2021, Pandu Nayak, Google Fellow and Vice President of Search, announced the Multitask Unified Model (MUM) concept. MUM is a new technology that can help with more complex queries without doing multiple searches. MUM is multimodal, so it understands language and information across text and images. This AI is being continuously developed and has the potential to assist in complex tasks and transcend language barriers.
To understand MUM more, click here.
Link Spam Update
In August 2021, Google's link spam update was completed. This update did not come with many details, but you should check to ensure your website is protected from spammy links and free from low-quality backlinks. Check that your website does not participate in link schemes. Note that these could have a negative impact on your page’s ranking.
Google encourages site owners and developers to read and follow the webmaster guidelines.
Page Experience Update
In September 2021, Google announced the completion of its page experience update. This update was designed to improve a user’s experience on each website. The ranking takes into account the following:
Core Web Vitals – each core web vital represents a distinct aspect of the user's experience, as mentioned below
Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)
measures the loading performance of a page;
the page should load within 2.5 seconds
First Input Delay (FID):
measures a page’s interactivity
the page should have FID of 100 milliseconds or less
Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)
measures a page's visual stability
the page should keep its CLS at 0.1 or less
HTTPS Security – HTTPS stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure. In this protocol, encrypted HTTP data is transferred over a secure connection. A page must be served over HTTPS to qualify for a good page experience status.
No intrusive interstitials – Advertising techniques used by sites must not be distracting or intrusive. Otherwise, they will take away from a good page experience.
The six major algorithm updates enumerated here are just a few of the thousands of Google algorithm changes launched yearly in their quest to improve their service. These updates often cause fluctuations in a page's ranking on the search engine results page (SERP). Usually, the businesses that do search engine optimization (SEO) on their sites get the top rankings.
This is why doing SEO on a website is an important full-time job. Luckily, this is our field of expertise and we can help you. Let Wise Marketing Professionals manage your website to keep up with Google algorithm's countless updates. Message us today to book an appointment.