Google releases core updates every couple of months. These updates are part of a continuing process of Google attempting to better it’s search algorithm. There was buzz recently that there would be another Google Core Update, update which has left marketers and business owners frantic. Understandably so, as websites have already begun to feel the negative effects even before the update’s roll out.
Several people have reported that their SEO rankings have taken a massive hit and have even lost their first page positions. So, let’s try to understand what’s next for Google.
What are Google Core Updates?
As the name suggests, core updates are improvements that Google rolls out from time to time to make the search engine more accurate to the core algorithms.
Obviously, these updates enhance the way users receive answers to their search queries. And with each update, Google increases its user friendliness.
Google dropped a total of 3,200 updates last year. These periodic updates are, in fact, one of the major reasons why Google is the number one search engine of our times.
So, the question is…
Could this week’s potentially HUGE Google Core update shake up the SEO world?
Google Core Updates are aimed at enriching the user experience while simultaneously making Google more sophisticated as a search engine.
Though that may sound like good news to many, it usually means a whirlwind of changes for marketers and content creators. Because each Google Core Update affects your site’s SEO rankings.
Think about it. You master your tools only for a Google Core Update to snatch it right away from you.
It is projected that’s exactly what will happen this week, when Google launches another one of its disruptive core updates.
How have the updates historically impacted SEO?
This isn’t the first time we’re experiencing a scare. Here’s a complete review of the most significant Google Core Updates we’ve survived in the past 17 years.
- Florida Update (2003)
The first notable Google core update took down websites that used SEO techniques that the current industry experts frown upon such as keyword stuffing. Websites with hidden keywords or invisible text for web crawlers were also affected. Google also took down brands using multiple sites for the same brand to avoid duplication and monopolizing.
- Jagger Update (2005)
Sites that relied on duplicate content and unnatural links for higher SEO rankings got wiped out in this Google Core Update. It was an effort to get rid of all types of spam.
- Vince Update (2009)
The Vince update favored big brand domains over those with less authoritative a.k.a. small sites that used SEO to rank higher. Understandably, not everyone was happy with this update.
- Panda Update (2011)
Panda hurt content farms – sites that relied on producing textual content in large quantities to get picked up by the crawlers faster than their competitors.
- Page Layout Update (2012)
Probably the first Google Core Update that valued page experience, Page Layout Update targeted sites that displayed too many ads before showing any actual content to their visitors. Not many sites were affected.
- Penguin Update (2012)
Penguin hit websites that over-optimized using spammy SEO practices such as keyword stuffing and unnatural linking. Its subsequent versions also looked beyond the homepage for link stuffing to really wipe out all the spam.
- Hummingbird Update (2013)
After the Venice Update (2012), this was probably the first time when a Google Core Update was working towards making search results more refined. Along with the user’s IP address and physical location, Google also began to adapt to the rise of conversational search. Search results started getting more sophisticated with voice search taking the centre stage. Hummingbird ended up affecting 90% of the global searches.
- Mobilegeddon (2015)
This year was dominated by smartphones. Both Android and IOS had launched some of their best models, including Apple’s iPhone 5 and Samsung’s Galaxy series extension. Google quickly realized the need for mobile-friendly websites for increasing mobile users. And so, Mobilegeddon was born.
- RankBrain (2015)
RankBrain was a machine-learning artificial intelligence algorithm that aimed to offer the best results for search queries based on the user’s search behavior. This was an extremely notable change in Google’s core.
- Fred Update (2017)
Not the official name, but some jokes were made, and Fred just stuck around. Fred targeted sites with low-value content that didn’t offer any real or quality information.
- Quality Update (2017)
Another Google Core Update that impacted sites with UX issues, Quality Update affected sites with low-value content, poor page experience as well as those that engaged in aggressive advertising.
- BERT Update (2019)
The most recent and important Google Core Update, BERT rewarded good content marketing efforts. It improved featured snippets and made them more sophisticated. Needless to say, countless sites with thin content took a hit. BERT also aimed to get a better understanding of queries and refined search results to offer more accurate answers.
What does it mean for marketers and business owners?
Exactly a year ago, Google offered advice on how marketers and business owners can survive algorithm changes. And it mostly revolved around strengthening your content game.
After taking a look at the history of all Google Core updates, we can conclude that each update prioritizes high-value, thick, informative content, and seamless page experience with each update.
So, if you’ve been following good content marketing practices, you probably won’t have to worry about the new update.
But those practicing spammy techniques may have to face the music after the new Google Core Update rolls out.