A decade ago, Google announced that they update their search engine algorithm between 350 and 400 times per annum. Ten years later and that number factors into the thousands.
Google’s new updates can affect your ranking on SERPs, or search engine results pages.
Dropping from the first page will impact your visitor count and ultimately your bottom line. That’s why you need to keep up to date with all of Google’s ranking algorithm edits. This article highlights three of the latest Google Search updates.
Learn how SEO works and why it should shape your digital marketing strategy. Achieve higher SEO rankings by improving your Page Experience and web vitals score.
Read on to discover more about Google Search and how you should react to updates.
How SEO Works
SEO, or search engine optimization, aims to increase the quantity and quality of website visitors from search engines.
Google has the largest market share and holds 91.86% of the worldwide market.
Business owners with links on the first results page will receive greater traffic than those on pages two and beyond. A sudden drop in ranking can devastate sales. Inversely, jumping to a higher spot carries with it benefits like increased contact form submissions.
SEO works by following Google’s guidelines.
Fundamentals like quality content will always remain. Yet, some of Google’s updates mean changing SEO practices to keep in line with its expectations.
Google’s Ranking Algorithm
An algorithm acts as a special filter to determine which web pages should rank first for a particular keyword or phrase.
Google’s goal is to reduce spam results and push quality to the fore. They reward sites that deserve it and improve their filters to ensure poor sites don’t slip through.
Like a secret recipe, Google doesn’t explain exactly how its ranking algorithm works. Yet it does offer advice on upcoming changes.
Google launches several types of algorithm updates:
- Core – major updates that affect all websites
- Targeted – affects a specific section of websites
- Specific – focus on specific issues like spam
During the month of July 2021 alone, Google launched 5 changes including a major core edit.
The remainder of this article discusses three changes that have impacted many business websites. They include the Passage Update, Page Experience, and July Core and we share how each edit could affect your ranking.
Google Passage Update
Google’s ranking algorithm Passage Update launched in February 2021 yet it still impacts sites today.
It centers on pages with lots of content or long-form passages. The goal is to put those passages into context and to better relate them to searches on Google.
Imagine an online blog article that deals with several topics on one page.
Previously, Google attempted to understand the entire piece by assigning it to one category. It didn’t matter if the article discussed a range of themes, Google identified just one.
Google’s new updates mean it can take specific paragraphs and match them with multiple topics. Its users will get directed to that section on the page from the search results if they enter a related phrase.
Snippets and Passages
The update works in a similar way to web page snippets where Google retrieves specific content from a page. It then displays that markup within a box or snippet within the results.
Unlike snippets, the passage update doesn’t use markup schemas. It simply analyses the text and if it’s well structured it will promote the page on the SERPs.
Page Experience Update
The Page Experience update began rolling out in June 2021 and will conclude at the end of August. It attempts to measure how a user engages with a web page through a range of signals.
- Core Web Vitals – how quickly the page loads and responds to the user’s input
- Security issues – broken SSL certificates will disbar the site from Google’s SERPs
- Mobile usability – examines mobile device errors
- Ad experience – no distracting ads that don’t relate to the page content
- HTTPS – sites should now use SSL
The key to this update is Core Web Vitals. These signals target three areas: LCP, FID, and CLS.
Core Web Vitals
Largest Contentful Print or LCP checks a page’s loading performance. The quicker the loading time the better the score.
First Input Delay or FID measures how long it takes to interact with a page. The benchmark is 100ms. Anything above 300ms is considered poor.
Cumulative Layout Shift or CLS calculates the length of time for the content to settle.
That includes loading images that shift text around the screen. Google gives a score of 0.1 or less for a good CLS.
You can measure each web vital signal for free. Simply take advantage of these SEO tools for small businesses by visiting the links on our site.
July Core Update
Google’s new updates in July 2021 centered on the broad core edit to its algorithm. It continued on from June’s core update and added features that Google’s staff didn’t have time to release.
The update has affected thin-content sites and those that deal with YMYL or Your Money or Your Life topics. For example, law, finance, reviews, health, etc.
Unfortunately, Google doesn’t share what has changed. Evidence comes with the ranking position, with some sites losing position and others improving.
Impact of Google’s New Updates on SEO Results
If your website has disappeared from the first few pages don’t panic! First, check the Google Search Console. There may be a notification to alert you if your site contains errors or issues. Fixing these will help resolve things.
If you don’t receive a penalty notice then review the sites that have taken your spot.
Do they offer better content? Is their site structured in a clearer way? Also, review Google’s guidance on core updates and always lean towards quality.
We’ve Got You Covered
Google’s new updates may seem daunting. Many business owners tend to ignore them until they see a slide in traffic. By then, competitors have taken their spot and they’re left wondering what went wrong.
You don’t need to worry about Google’s ranking algorithms if you hire the right marketing team.
Our Customer Success program helps you stay on top of these changes and their impact on your site. By walking you through quarterly health, analytics, and keyword ranking reports, your dedicated account manager will monitor changes in your site’s performance and strategize with you before they become a problem.
David Taylor Design also offers a range of SEO and SEM services that stay on top of the search update curve.
We can help shape your digital marketing strategy to increase inbound traffic. We review upcoming updates and ensure our clients’ sites remain optimized.
Contact us today for a quote and discover how we can improve your ranking in the SERPs.