April 10, 2022

Understanding Google Updates

It is to be expected for search engines to change their algorithms over time, and these updates are usually designed with the best interests of users at heart. That's why it's not surprising that Google updates its algorithm about a thousand times a year. A lot of minor changes happen every day, but at least once a year, Google will make a significant update that can impact how your site is ranked.

Some people panic when they hear about a Google update, but there's no need to worry unless you've been doing something wrong. This is why the aim of this blog post is to help you in understanding Google updates so you can continue to rank your website the right way even if there are a lot of changes.

What is a Google Update?

A Google update refers to changes that are made to the search engine algorithm. This can be anything from a tweak in how the Google algorithm works, to a major change that can affect how websites are ranked. Google's algorithm is a complex set of rules that takes into account many factors when determining how to rank a website. These updates can impact your site's visibility in the search engine results pages (SERPs) and can even lead to changes in your website's traffic.

What Causes Google Updates?

Google updates can be caused by a number of things, but the most common cause is an attempt to improve the search engine results for users. This could be anything from improving the quality of the results to increasing the accuracy of the search results. Google may also update its algorithm in response to changes in the way people use the internet. For example, if there was a recent increase in the use of mobile devices, Google may update its algorithm to better accommodate these devices.

What is a Google Core Update?

Google core updates are a type of update that is made to the search engine algorithm at least once a year. These updates usually involve significant changes to the algorithm and can have a major impact on how websites are ranked. Core updates are different from other types of Google updates, as they are aimed at specific issues with the algorithm rather than general improvements.

What are the Effects of a Google Update?

Google updates can have various effects on websites, depending on how your site is optimized. If your site is properly optimized, you may not see any changes at all. However, if your site is not optimized correctly, you could see a significant decrease in traffic as a result of the update.

It's also important to note that Google updates can take time to fully roll out, so you may not see the full effects until a few weeks or even months after the update has been released. A lot of people make the mistake of making changes to their website based on early information about an update, only to see their traffic plummet later on when the update is fully rolled out.

Significant Google Updates Over the Years

There have been a number of significant Google updates over the years, with each one affecting how websites are ranked. Some of the most notable Google updates include:

Panda Update

This update was released in August 2011, and it was named after one of the Google engineers who worked on it, Navneet Panda. The Panda update was aimed at improving the quality of the search results, and it specifically targeted websites that were using low-quality content.

This update didn't affect individual pages, but websites as a whole. Websites that had bad or low backlink profiles or duplicate content were penalized, while websites that had relevant and authoritative content were rewarded. As a result, many sites saw their traffic drop significantly after the update was released.

Penguin Update

The Penguin update was released in April 2012 and it was aimed at penalizing websites that were using spammy link-building tactics. This update is an extension of the Panda update that targeted websites that had too many low-quality links pointing to them, and it resulted in a decrease in the search rankings of many spammy websites.

This update significantly impacted websites that were using black-hat SEO techniques, such as keyword stuffing and link schemes. This affected all aspects of a website, including its backlink profile, on-page optimization, and even its content.

Hummingbird Update

The Google Hummingbird update was released in September 2013 and it was designed to improve the accuracy of the search engine results. This update is different from other Google updates, as it is not a tweak or an addition to the Google algorithm, but rather a completely new algorithm

This update used natural language processing (NLP), which is the ability to understand natural language, in order to improve the accuracy of understanding search queries. The Hummingbird update is still in use today and it has had a major impact on how Google ranks websites.

Mobilegeddon Update

The Mobilegeddon update was released in April 2015 and it was designed to improve the ranking of websites that were optimized for mobile devices. This update was significant because it was the first time that Google explicitly penalized websites that were not optimized for mobile devices.

As more and more people are using mobile devices to access the internet, Google decided to give preferential treatment to websites that were optimized for mobile devices. This meant that websites that were not optimized for mobile devices saw a significant decrease in their search rankings.

RankBrain Update

The RankBrain update was released in October 2015 and it is a machine learning algorithm that is used to improve the accuracy of the search engine results. This update was a tweak to the Hummingbird update and it was designed to improve the accuracy of the results by using machine learning.

RankBrain is a neural network that is used to learn from the data that it collects. It uses this information to improve the accuracy of the results, which means that the RankBrain algorithm is constantly evolving and getting better over time. This update was aimed for Google to understand search intent by taking into account the language and personal search history of the user.

Medic Update

The Google Medic update was released in August 2018 and it was designed to improve the ranking of websites that provide valuable information about medical topics. This update was significant because it was the first time that a specific niche is targeted with Google algorithm updates.

The Medic update targeted websites that provided valuable information about medical topics, such as diseases, treatments, surgeries, and other life-altering events. This update was designed to improve the accuracy of the search engine results by giving preference to websites that provided valuable information about medical topics.

BERT Update

The BERT update was released in October 2019 and it is a machine learning algorithm that is used to improve the accuracy of the search engine results. This update was a tweak to the Hummingbird and RankBrain updates and it was designed to improve the accuracy of the results by using machine learning.

Despite the initial impact of the BERT on websites was minimal, it has changed how Google evaluates the content of a website. The BERT update is designed to understand the context of the words on a page and how they are related to each other. This allows Google to better evaluate the content of a website and give preference to websites that have high-quality content.

Google December 2020 Core Update

This update was the third and final broad core algorithm update of 2020. This update was designed to improve the accuracy of the search engine results by taking into account the quality of the content on a website.

This update mainly affected reference and news sites, where the quality of the content was not up to par with the other websites in the search engine results. This update caused a significant amount of volatility in the search engine results, where websites saw a large decrease or increase in their search engine rankings.

As you can see, Google has released a number of significant updates over the years, and each one has had a major impact on how websites are ranked. It is important to keep up with these updates and make sure that your website is optimized for them, as they can have a significant impact on your traffic and revenue.

How to Know if You Were Affected By a Google Update?

If you are not sure if your website was affected by a Google update, there are a few things that you can do to find out:

  • Check the Google Search Console for any messages that may be related to Google updates.
  • Check your website’s Google Analytics data to see if there was a decrease or increase in traffic.
  • Monitor your website’s search engine rankings to see if there was a significant change.

If you were affected by a Google update, there are a few things that you can do to improve your website’s ranking.

How to Prepare for a Google Update

The best way to prepare for a Google update is to ensure that your site is properly optimized. This means making sure that your site is compliant with Google's guidelines and that you are using the correct techniques to improve your site's ranking. You should also keep track of any changes that Google makes to their algorithm and make sure that your site is updated to reflect these changes.

Lastly, you should always produce high-quality content that is relevant to your audience. This will help improve your website's ranking and visibility in the search engine results. By following these tips, you can ensure that your site is prepared for any Google update that comes our way.

Final Thoughts

Google is constantly releasing new updates to their algorithm, and it is important to stay up-to-date with them. These updates can have a significant impact on your website's traffic and revenue, so it is important to make sure that your site is optimized for them.

If you are not sure if your website was affected by a Google update, the tips and tricks in this article should help you out. And if you were affected by a Google update, there are a few things that you can do to improve your website's ranking. Follow these tips and you will be well on your way to preparing your site for any future Google updates.

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