SEO-Update

Which direction is the search engine heading? Google algorithm update history

Which direction is the search engine heading? Google algorithm update history

Virtually all of us use the Google search engine on a daily basis. Over the years, its algorithms have been updated many times, so that users get the results of the pages as close to their expectations as possible. After so many changes, we can try to draw conclusions and answer the question: which direction is the search engine heading?

How does the Google search engine work?

The Google search engine bases its operation on specially developed algorithms. Algorithms are a kind of set of tasks and rules thanks to which the search engine analyzes the information contained on websites and evaluates their value. This allows it to display pages in a specific order in the search result lists. These algorithms were created to sort of organize the internet. From the very beginning, the Google search engine has been driven by the desire to provide users with the most relevant search results, and all the algorithm updates that appear are designed to bring it closer to this goal.

The most important algorithms and updates, i.e. Google over the years

The PageRank link era

PageRank was the first search engine algorithm to analyze and evaluate the value of websites. In this case, the site classification was based on the number of links leading to a given page. However, this algorithm was not immune to manipulation, so Google quickly began to focus on other issues as well and implemented updates.

The essence of content, i.e. the Panda algorithm

Another algorithm developed by Google was Panda. Due to the importance of content, this algorithm was designed to evaluate content on websites. There were penalties for duplicating content (both external and internal) and too much keyword saturation, and subpages with exhaustive, unique and valuable content were promoted.

Penguin’s fight against spam

Valuable content continued to be one of the most important factors in website classification. However, Google started fighting spam by creating a new algorithm called Penguin. The number of links has become very important here, and more precisely, their increase over time. If Google assessed it as unnatural – a penalty was imposed. The quality of the links themselves and the diversification of their sources have also become important.

The pirate ends up with piracy

Another important update was the algorithm with the meaningful name of Pirate. It was intended to remove pages with illegal content from search results. Pages with unique and original content have greatly benefited from it.

Understanding the user’s intent, i.e. the Hummingbird

The algorithm named after the cute bird that is the Hummingbird is one of the most important algorithms that indicate where the search engine is going. It was aimed at understanding the user’s intentions when the user enters certain key phrases in the search box, the so-called long taile. For example, after entering the query “where can I eat Mexican dish” in the search engine, we will see Mexican restaurants, although the exact phrase “Mexican restaurant” did not appear in this query.

A new function was also to indicate the information sought without having to leave the search results.

Hummingbird algorithm search results

The algorithm named after the cute bird that is the Hummingbird is one of the most important algorithms that indicate where the search engine is going. It was aimed at understanding the user’s intentions when the user enters certain key phrases in the search box, the so-called long taile. For example, after entering the query “where can I eat Mexican dish” in the search engine, we will see Mexican restaurants, although the exact phrase “Mexican restaurant” did not appear in this query.

A new function was also to indicate the information sought without having to leave the search results. This is clearly shown in the example below.

Pigeon and local search

Importantly, Google also began to support local activities. The algorithm called Dove allowed the display of results relevant to the location of the user searching for a given service. Companies that offered local services, had well-optimized pages and supplemented Google My Business cards benefited mainly.

Mobilegeddon, or Mobile Friendly Update

Another update of Google’s algorithms was Mobilegeddon. This is the common name for Mobile Friendly Update, which was created due to the growing number of users browsing websites on their smartphones. Pages that also had a mobile version were to appear higher in search results.

RankBrain and the machine learning system

One of the most important Google algorithms has become RankBrain, i.e. artificial intelligence. According to Parmarketing, the machine learning system was introduced to the search engine algorithm in 2015. Its task was to analyze the meaning of the query and provide the most appropriate answer. This was especially important in the case of long and complicated sentences entered into the search engine by users.

Positioning of local businesses, i.e. Possum

The Possum algorithm was a whole series of changes to the Google algorithm. Search results began to depend on the user’s physical location. This was especially beneficial for businesses whose activities are conducted in a location other than the company’s headquarters.

Your Money Your Life and Medical Update

In mid-2018, Google came to the conclusion that areas of life such as our health and finances are too important to be treated like any other. That is why the next update that influenced the operation of the search engine was Medical Update. The goal was to provide users with reliable information on the financial and medical industry. Pages that could confirm the quality of their content with the author’s authority gained first of all.

Other important updates, i.e. Core Updates

In the next two years, there were five more major updates of the algorithm with the note Core Update. They were: March 2019 Core Update, June 2019 Core Update, September 2019 Core Update, January 2020 Core Update and May 2020 Core Update. In none of these cases has information been officially released or confirmed about what actually changed by Google. We can presume, however, that the search engine tries to take care of the positive user experience, i.e. UX, and continues to reward pages with valuable and exhaustive content.

Google BERT Natural Language Processing Update

Google Bert is by far the biggest update to the Google search engine algorithm this year. Its task was to incorporate natural language processing into the algorithm, and then provide even better tailored and more relevant search results. This was of great importance to the results on long typed phrases and naturally formed queries. This is also important from the perspective of the increasingly popular voice search, which is available in virtually every smartphone, as well as in many models of modern cars.

Summary

Changes that are introduced in the search engine algorithms on an ongoing basis are a very complicated and lengthy process. Google is constantly updating them in order to provide its users with the simplest possible use of the search engine and the best tailored answers to queries. By analyzing the history of all the changes made, we can see how Google has changed over the years.

Initially, it focused on the number of links leading to the site. A bit later, the quantity and quality of content on the website also became important. Soon, Google started fighting spam and manipulative, unnatural SEO. Thanks to this, we can say that Google will certainly continue to try to reward really valuable websites and improve its technologies. You can see that the search engine aims to display pages that will bring real value to its users. To achieve this, he tries to better understand the intentions of his users (read: What is Search Intent SEO?).

In accordance with the principle of “content is king”, the traffic generation system will be maintained, based on substantively valuable content and the authority of its authors. In the coming years, we can certainly expect further development of machine learning and better use of artificial intelligence in the search engine. Certainly, the world of SEO is still waiting for numerous surprises and unexpected updates, which will cause real chaos more than once.

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