Google Core Updates are usually a significant marker in the year for many companies. The page that was doing well and created thousands of hits could suddenly end up much lower on the SERP. This May, the search giant will roll out a new core update that will impact many companies.
Although many people know how Google works in the broadest of terms, it impacts how webpages perform and how they are designed. In many ways, the company from Mountain View, California, does run the Internet. The core updates are worth exploring further, both to see what they are and how you can profit from the changes that Google rolls out.
To understand the core updates, we will first look at how Google operates and how it manages to influence our world through search results successfully.
Google operates in three distinct stages:
Through software programs called crawlers, the search engine looks for pages that are either new or updated. One way they find new content is by following links on pages that they already know about.
Once a page has registered through crawling, Google analyzes the content, images, and video files on the page.
Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs)
The third stage is what the end-user sees. These are called the search engine result pages. When you put in a search term, Google will look for what it sees as the highest quality results. These can be influenced by many factors such as your current location, language, mobile or desktop, content on the page, and previous searches. So what you see for a search result will not always be what someone else will see on the same search.
How Websites Are Ranked
So, in addition to tailoring results to individual users, what do Google look for when deciding how to rank a website?
It used to be that keywords were king. Nowadays, Google identifies relevance by also checking if pages contain synonyms and related words. If you search for “German Dictionary” for example, then a page that contains words like Germany, language, definition and translation will rank higher than a page that uses “German Dictionary”, but not the other words.
The Hummingbird algorithm also attempts to discern user intent. So, for a keyword like ‘Moving to France’ Google only shows informative websites, whereas a keyword like ‘France moving company’ results in entirely service websites. If you’re struggling to rank for a particular keyword, enter it in Google and see what the results are. Would the page you’re trying to rank for fit amongst the other top ranking pages?
Google’s RankBrain measures the quality of content by using a complex algorithm that Google’s own engineers admit is too complex for them to fully understand. It includes factors like length of text, use of images, whether long paragraphs are split up with sub-headings, etc.
Trustworthiness and authority
For a new piece of content, your site’s overall trustworthiness and authority (measured using rankings like Domain Authority and TrustFlow), plus RankBrain’s initial ‘impression’ will determine how high in the results the new piece of content is placed.
User-experience and link building
Over time, your ranking will go up and down depending on a range of additional factors – how many people click to visit the page, how long do they spend on it, does it get social media shares, and does it receive backlinks from other relevant websites.
The last of these, plus the fact that Domain Authority and TrustFlow are determined primarily by incoming external links, makes link building essential for any site.
What Is A Google Core Update?
Each day of the year, Google tweaks its systems to perform better and find the best possible search results. Usually, these go by unnoticed and indeed many are controlled via RankBrain, the artificial intelligence that is gaining increasing importance to Google’s algorithms. Other times, these changes can radically adjustwhat order different websites are ranked in. These changes to search algorithms and systems are called Core Updates.
Some examples of core updates include snippets, those little text boxes when you ask a question in the Google search box; another is the Panda update. This update penalizes duplicate, plagiarized, and thin content, user-generated spam, and keyword stuffing.
The most well-known update is probably the Owl update, designed to curb fake news and combat hate speech. This happened after the search engine received widespread criticism on showing far-right extremist views on searches relating to the holocaust.
Google Core Update May 2021
Google will roll out the page experience signals in ranking this May 2021. One of the most critical items is that pages that are not AMP (Accelerated mobile pages) can become eligible to appear in the mobile Top Stories feature in search.
Another critical update will be the use of visual indicators on what a page contains. In essence, Google will assign a rating to how the content on a website looks. This will also reflect in the search results; visually attractive pages will be scoring higher.
Although the core update will likely be rolled out fully in May, expect some changes to happen in the upcoming months, which should give everyone enough time to prepare.
Future Algorithm Updates in 2021 and beyond
How might Google edit their algorithm in 2021 and beyond? This lighthearted infographic from Indigoextra answers the question.