What You Should Know About Google’s Search Algorithm Updates

Topics: Google Algorithm, SEO Tips Written on October 11, 2018 by Surfaced Media

Google is causing quite a stir these past few months due to the changes in the company’s search algorithms.

Search engine optimization (SEO) experts have been intently watching the changes as should any company with a website.

Why should you care about Google updates? Because everytime the search behemoth makes changes to the way they rank sites, the result is fluctuation in the search engine results pages (SERPs).

In other words, sites rise and fall in the SERPs, sometimes massively. Often, sites are penalized and dropped into oblivion or even removed from the search pages entirely.

Obviously, changes to your site’s search ranking have a direct consequence to your company’s bottom line.

With that in mind, let’s get you caught up on the latest Google updates so you can position your website for success.

What Are the Latest Google Updates?

On August 1, Google made sweeping changes to its algorithm. The update is known as the Medic update.

On September 10, another round of updates seems to have occurred, the results of which are still under debate.

What Is the Impact of the Medic Update?

Google rarely comments publicly with substantive information about an update so SEOs are left to come up with their own conclusions. Over time, the tools and systems used by these professionals have become very sophisticated and they can fairly accurately determine the intent of an update.

Such is the case with the Medic update. At the time of the update, SEOs noticed a lot of health and medical sites experiencing wild swings in the SERPs. SEO expert Barry Schwartz noticed the trend and aptly applied the term Medic Update.

In the days following the Medic update, a trend emerged to SEOs. The sites most affected seemed to be what is called YMYL (your money your life) sites, which not only include medical sites but financial advice sites as well.

Google appears to be making sure the sites focusing on our well-being, including your health and finances, are authoritative.

In the meantime, Google’s John Mueller has rejected the notion of a medical update, calling it “more of a general ranking update… it’s not specific to medical sites.”

Indeed, Mueller is likely telling the truth. The company isn’t known to target a particular industry.

Most of the company’s updates are related to relevance. Delivering relevant search results are its core business. As such, your efforts should focus on improving relevance as part of your SEO solutions to achieve higher search rankings.

What Are the Latest Changes to Google’s Search Algorithms?

While the Medic update is regarded as a major core update to Google’s search algorithm, the changes occurring on September 10 are widely regarded as a more routine update.

According to SEO consultant Roger Montti, webmasters need to focus “how the author intent of a page of content relates to the intent of the searcher making the query.”

User intent is something Google is actively focusing on. In the microseconds after a search is executed, Google is trying to determine the answers to many questions such as:

  • Is the search user looking to buy?
  • Is the search user looking for information?
  • Is the search user looking for a specific business or location?

Sometimes words can have many meanings which can throw off search engines like Google. Thankfully, the company is improving its artificial intelligence (AI) and they are getting much better at determining user intent.

It’s highly likely the most recent round of changes are aimed at improving relevance and user intent as part of a general ranking update.

The Bottom Line

Obviously, Google is making continuous changes to its search algorithms. But what can you do to protect your site and position it to rise in the rankings?

The best practice is to follow Google’s own Quality Rater’s Guidelines. Google provides over 200 pages of actionable advice to rank higher.

Alternatively, you can leave the worrying to us and outsource your SEO. Our team of experts can spearhead your SEO, leaving you more time to concentrate on your core business.

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