Google is the most visited website globally, with more than 89.3 billion monthly visits. Moreover, it is also dominating the search market world as it alone enjoys a 91.9% share of the whole market. You would be amazed that this platform entertains around 8.5 billion daily searches.
Here arises a question. How has Google gotten this incredible success? Google achieved this success over time. Since its development as a research project in 1996, Google and its algorithms have been updated frequently, making it a better choice than its competitors.
Every year, Google announces some new updates to provide a better user experience, improve its SERP results, and assist original content creators in getting more visibility.
Many people know about its success, but only a few know how it achieved that.
In this article, we will look at some of the most influential algorithms & updates of Google that assisted its search engine in becoming more sophisticated and better than the rest. Here they are!
The Panda update was released in 2011 and focused on providing users with better-quality results for their search queries. In this update, Google has discouraged low-quality and duplicate content. Through Panda, Google has forced content creators or website owners to put more effort into research and unique content creation. As a result, many websites providing remarkable content to their users have gained an extraordinary reach and become popular within a few months.
After the Panda update 2011, Google deranked many websites that were providing low value to users and ranked the websites with well-written and researched content. Moreover, it also focused on the originality of the content. That’s how Google not only affected many websites that were using black hat practices for content creation but also benefited those who were providing valuable and quality content to the users.
In 2012, Google launched another significant search algorithm focusing on websites using black hat techniques. At that time, many website owners were using many black hat practices to rank their websites and were gaining a lot of traffic through Google SERPs. However, the Penguin update has put a stop to these practices.
After the update, Google started using the backlink crawling method. The backlink crawler of Google started crawling every backlink to websites. Penguin’s main focus was the bought backlinks, spammy backlinks, and bot-built backlinks that were very common in those days. This update has eliminated the importance of those backlinks and only regarded the backlinks generated by humans.
The Hummingbird algorithm was revolutionary from the users’ perspective. Nowadays, when you search for a particular thing, Google shows the most relevant pages to your query instead of showing you the website’s homepage.
For example, if you are looking to buy a jacket from a particular online store, it doesn’t show you the homepage of that online store. Instead, it shows you the category page where you can see all the store’s jackets. That’s how it assisted users in reaching what they were looking for.
Instead of analyzing the meanings of the exact words, Google has started exploring the search intent and showing the results accordingly. That’s how Google improved user experience and saved their time finding the exact thing they need.
According to many experts, Google’s Pigeon algorithm was among the best. The primary goal of this update was to improve local search. This update assisted people in getting better results against their search queries. For example, if you are looking for a leather jacket in California, you want to avoid seeing what is available in a store located in Paris. You want to see what is available in your state or city. That’s where this algorithm update assisted Google users.
Now, Google prefers local results instead of what is being trended abroad. This update made eCommerce much better and more effective. Now, consumers can save time in various stores to know that the product they like isn’t available in their locality. Moreover, it also helped businesses working in a particular locality. As a result, they are enjoying better rankings and generating more quality leads.
Google launched Mobile Update in April 2015, which forced website owners to make their websites more mobile-friendly. However, before the launch of this algorithm update, Google warned website owners a few weeks ago about it and gave them a chance to make their websites mobile-friendly.
After its launch, it decreased the ranking of the websites that were not mobile-friendly. Before the update, Google sensed that the number of users using mobile phones to browse the internet was increasing, forcing website owners to respect mobile users and design their websites more friendly.
In the RankBrain update, Google has started utilizing modern technologies to analyze the user’s real search intent. Once this update was launched, Google started using machine learning algorithms to discover what users need and show results accordingly perfectly. In this update, Google has introduced the “interpretation model” that analyzes various factors, including users’ location and the exact words of the query, to identify the search intent. Then, it uses the data to locate which websites can fulfil users’ needs.
This update allowed users to get better results with fewer words. For example, if you use the “Premier League Standings” query, this query doesn’t specify the season. But, machine learning analyzes the users’ patterns and behaviour and shows the current premier league season results. That’s how they assist users with what they want without providing all the details.
The mobile-friendly update in 2016 was the continuation of its mobile-friendly update in 2015. It is also known as Mobilegeddon 2. This update improved Google’s algorithms to show the best content to users irrespective of their devices. So, no matter whether the users are using mobile phones, tablets, or desktop devices to search for anything, Google started showing them the results that can provide them with the best value in terms of content.
However, it continued improving the ranking of mobile-friendly websites. Moreover, it also deranked all the websites that aren’t mobile-friendly. In fact, after the update, Google didn’t show many websites to mobile users that were not mobile-friendly.
The 2017 quality update launched in May 2017 affected a lot of websites. For example, many websites saw a significant drop in their rankings, and others enjoyed a huge spike in results. It happened because Google revised its algorithms and used fresh data to allocate rankings.
This quality update focused on multiple factors that make a website and its content high-quality, including user experience, content value, numbers and credibility of ads, user interface, etc. With the improvement in algorithms, Google appreciated and blessed the websites with a higher ranking that was more user-friendly and provided more value to visitors. But, on the other hand, it dropped the ranking of websites with deceptive ads, low-quality content, and awful user interfaces.
This update is also known as “Medic Update”. It was one of the worst updates for all those running finance, legal, and health websites. Many websites in these niches were operated by ordinary people who needed to gain experience in the field. They used to write a few articles, generate backlinks, and enjoy many visitors daily. However, Google stopped it with this update and only promoted authentic websites. That’s why it was known as the “Medic” update.
However, it also provided guidelines to users about how they can make their websites more authentic. As a result, many websites have recovered their original positions after a very short time. Still, many websites with low-quality content and no authority in the specified niches could not gain anything back due to Google’s policies.
BERT algorithm update was introduced in 2019 to understand the queries better and provide better search results compared to the past. In this algorithm update, Google has started using Natural Language Processing (NLP) technology to understand queries and perfectly identify the meanings of different words. Moreover, this technology understands the overall context of the query in a more human-like way.
Apart from understanding the search query and the context, BERT is also developed to provide more relevant results to users. Before BERT, users saw many irrelevant results that sometimes only waste their time and don’t provide them any value. However, this update has improved the quality of results in SERPs and helped users get what they want.
December 2020’s core update is also about understanding users’ search queries and providing better results to the users against their search queries. In this update, Google has significantly less concern about ranking factors. As a result, many experts say this update didn’t directly affect the websites’ ranking.
However, after this update, website owners had to focus on providing more valuable content to users so that their content gets a better ranking. Therefore, this core update can result in significant changes compared to almost every update mentioned in this article; it dramatically impacts users’ experience, making it even better than ever.
In 2021, Google started using another AI technology to improve its search engine in many ways. Google knows the benefits of various AI technologies that can assist users and companies in many ways. So, it has rolled out a significant algorithm update concerned with the passage ranking system.
In this update, Google has started analyzing different passages and sections of the content to understand their context better. After that, it uses the analyzed data to find how relevant it is to a search query.
With the passage ranking system, Google has made its engine more suitable for users who want the best results against each query. As Google’s primary focus is to provide a great user experience to every internet user who uses Google for searching for anything, this update helped it a lot as it profoundly understands the content and shows results on users’ screens.
Page Experience Update 2021 is another effort to improve the website’s user experience. Almost every person wants to visit websites that provide a great user experience with mobile-friendliness, quick loading speed, responsiveness to every device, etc. However, suppose somehow they land on a website that is not user-friendly or provides an awful experience. In that case, they immediately close it to save time and find another website with a better user experience.
With this update, Google tried to resolve many issues people faced during their website experience. It has updated its algorithms and prefers to show users only the websites that have proven excellent at user experience. For example, if two websites have similar content providing equal value, Google prefers the website that provides a better user experience over the other one.
Helpful content update was rolled out in 2022 to reward websites providing high-quality content to their visitors. Like many of its algorithm updates, it is also designed to provide a better user experience and provide them the value they deserve against their time spent on the internet.
After this update, if users find the content of a page helpful, the algorithms generate a positive signal that impacts that website’s ranking and helps it gain a higher ranking than it already has. On the other hand, websites with low-quality content and less value to visitors don’t enjoy it, as Google believes they aren’t providing the value people deserve. So, Google algorithms automatically de-rank websites with low-quality content.
This update was designed to reward product review pages and websites that put more effort into reviewing products and providing more valuable information to consumers. Unfortunately, many websites just rewrite the product descriptions and manuals that are already available on the manufacturer’s website. They don’t provide any exclusive data to users. So, Google also wants to avoid helping them in any way.
Google’s product review algorithm update will help only those websites that provide in-depth reviews to consumers and assist them in their decision-making process. Google wants to entertain all those content creators and website owners who write product reviews after testing them. They can provide better reviews than those who have just listened to or read about the product.
Google has recently rolled out its Spam Update in 2023, created to promote genuine work and discourage spammy activities to get a higher ranking. Unfortunately, many website owners still rely on spammy ways to achieve better rankings on SERPs, but Google isn’t ready to acknowledge them and bless them with the ranking they don’t deserve. On the other hand, it always strives to promote those who put in more effort and provide more value to visitors.
The sites affected by the update are those with thin content, poor meta-tags, keyword stuffing, and spammy backlinks. So, to protect your website from getting affected by this algorithm update, you must avoid all these things. In this case, you might have to work harder to regain your previous ranking.
Since its development, Google has often updated its algorithms to make its search engine better than other search engines. That’s why it is retaining its position in this competitive world. Compared to Google’s search engine, many other search engines have also updated their algorithms, but experts say that Google is a trendsetter, and others follow those trends. That’s why Google has no competition in this domain.
Moreover, Google not only improves its algorithms to facilitate internet users but also forces website owners to improve their websites’ structure and content to provide more value to users and help them get what they want.