Find Out What Google Algorithm Updates Are —
and How They Impact SEO

Online businesses need solid SEO to stay afloat and rank above their competitors. In the fight to attract website visitors and consumers, you need to build an SEO strategy that can stay on top of the latest trends and algorithm updates. As Google shifts and pivots how they crawl sites, your website will need to be nimble and shift along with the changes.

To help you stay on top of these algorithm changes, it’s helpful to understand exactly what an algorithm is, the different types of Google algorithms in play, and how you can proactively boost your SEO. 

What Is an Algorithm?

The process or the rules a computer needs to follow in order to operate, build calculations, or solve problems is described as an algorithm. It’s this framework of rules and processes that acts as a guideline from which developers code and implement different kinds of software.

Computers work on basic (1s and 0s) or binary (yes and no) operations interpreted by the electricity that flows to hardware. Although high-voltage currents can help make things run faster, everything behaves differently when given different currents. So, these binary choices—even with slight variations—can deeply impact how whole programs work. 

What Are Google Search Algorithms?

Google’s algorithms are designed to index and retrieve data and deliver the best answers to a user’s search queries. Various algorithms are designed to map out different aspects of Google Search and then decide the ranking factors. 

What Do Google Search Algorithm Updates Do?

Google results are ranked by relevance and algorithm filters. These filters use search engine results pages or SERPs, and other frequently updated algorithms to improve their accuracy.

Because Google search algorithms are updated so frequently and have a direct impact on the SEO of your website, it is important to stay on top of any changes. Over the years, Google algorithm updates have increased in frequency from the early days, when only a handful of updates happened each year.

Sometimes the changes don’t have too big of an impact, and merely improve basic user experiences–these are known as basic Google algorithm updates. But, major core algorithm updates greatly affect SERPs and how search engines operate. 

What Do Core Algorithm Updates Do?

More than just a simple update, core changes bring with them big changes to how content is ranked on SERPs. Luckily, Google generally notifies users and outlines forthcoming changes (even naming the updates, after release).

The changes that often come with core updates include ranking factors; SEO optimization; traffic metrics; delivery of search results; how Google sorts, processes, and shares data; and how the SERPs display findings.

What Are Some Examples of Google Algorithm Updates?

To understand what some updates look like, here is a list Google algorithm update history:

  • Caffeine (2010)
  • Panda (2011)
  • Penguin (2012)
  • Venice update (2012)
  • Hummingbird (2013)
  • RankBrain (2015)
  • Mobile Page Speed Update (2018)
  • BERT (2019)

What Was the May 2022 Google Algorithm Update?

A core algorithm update made in May 2022 included changes that caused a few ranking fluctuations. The process of changes started rollout on May 25, 2022, and finished on June 9, 2022.

How Can I Stay Updated on Google Algorithm Changes?

There are several resources you can use to help stay on top of the many changing algorithms.

  • If you would like to stay on top of Google and its update announcements, be sure to bookmark this page for basic updates. 
  • To stay on top of core updates, bookmark this page and check back frequently.
  • Another way to stay on top of whatever is happening at Google Search Central is to follow their Official YouTube Channel.

Aside from the big core updates, Google seldom shares news ahead of basic algorithm changes. But, there are some things you can proactively do to help ensure you’re ready when changes do come.

  1. Set up Analytic Seismographs on Your Site

To help anticipate and track search traffic changes on your website, tools like Google Analytics and Google Search Console are a huge help. Plus, they’re free—and vital for web optimization.

  1. Watch the SERP Forecasts

There are several places you can check for early-advance notices and indications that an algorithm update may be around the corner. A few of the more reliable options include:

  • SEMrush Sensor
  • MozCast
  • CognitiveSEO
  • AccuRanker
  • SERPMetrics
  • Algoroo
  • Advanced Web Rankings
  • RankRanger
  1. Use Available Industry Assets

Tap into experts and industry news—the following resources are a good way to keep your ear to the ground and listen for any potential changes that could impact your website:

How Do I Avoid Missing An Update and Prevent Loss?

The best way to avoid loss is to be prepared and do your research. If you’re experiencing an issue that you think may be the result of Google algorithm updates, there’s a chance that the update may be “fixed” by Google in a few weeks. 

The best way to avoid issues is to take preventative measures. If you’ve not done so already, now is the time to start aligning your content with Google’s standards. 

Here are a few things you can do to clean up your content for better SEO results:

  1. Answer Niche-Specific Search Queries

The vision behind Google’s Search Engine has always been to deliver the most accurate answers to problems. Since each algorithm update tries to make search better, your content should also be relevant and useful to readers. 

Writing blog posts can help, too. With a little research, you can find what your clients need, and help offer useful answers through your content. 

To answer a query you need to understand and address the problem efficiently, this is often harder than it sounds, and many website owners settle for subpar content. Good SEO and the perfect answer to specific topics can help you gain featured snippets (the prized spot on SERP pages). And low-quality content ends up doing more harm than good.

Aim to create content that captivates your target audiences—and helps solve their problems, too.

  1. Plan Your Content

SEO requires patience, hard work, and an understanding of keywords. Another challenge most website owners with bad performance face is a lack of planned content. 

You also need a list of topics you intend to cover and their SEO value. Keep in mind your keywords. And it is a good strategy to use answer targeting when creating your content. This is a technique that builds your content around a key question (your blog title), followed by an immediate short-form answer, and then deep-dive info supported in the following article format.

When planning your content deployment, it’s wise to build out a weekly or monthly content calendar. Be sure to keep your content maintained. A content calendar and getting SEO-friendly content from platforms like Topcontent allows you to be certain that your content is high-quality, keyword-rich, and developed with the most up-to-date algorithms.

  1. Update Old Content

It should be repeated: Content quality matters. But good-quality content isn’t enough. Good quality old content will elicit bad SEO results—aim to keep your site content fresh and shed or refresh content that’s outdated.

To help keep your content new, consider the following tips:

  • Audit the content you currently have on your website.
  • Identify old content or content that doesn’t align with the latest algorithm and SEO optimization best practices.
  • Consider the value of the content and be sure to check your site metrics, to see which content is seeing high visitor rates. 
  • Make a list of content that can be swiftly updated, salvaged, or rewritten. And also look for images that can be updated, too.
  • If the content isn’t performing well or has aged-out, delete it.
  1. Write Authoritative Content

Backlinks are essential for any website to survive—and sites with more links are generally considered to be more authoritative and trustworthy. 

Links used to be the only metric for measuring page authority. But, now quality content also plays a big role in how your site is ranked and if it can earn a high SERP. 

Recent Google algorithm updates have made language and content a key metric for establishing authority. This can be further boosted when your site has quality backlinks, too. Google’s natural language processing algorithms are what currently dictate which website ranks higher in search, based on the user’s search queries, content quality, keywords, and backlinks.

So, even if your website gains lots of backlinks overnight, the quality and relevancy of your website content may still prevent your content from ranking at the top for specific keyword searches.

What Should I Do After a Google Update?

Keep the following tips front of mind as you maintain your website:

  • Keep calm and carry on. In case an algorithm update has punished your website, try not to overreact. Remember that no one fully understands the algorithm completely. 
  • Do your homework. It is important to avoid making any changes until you know exactly what has been updated. Review the tips we’ve shared in this guide, audit your site, and do your homework to learn what the new updates entail—and what you’ll need to adjust.
  • Make smart adjustments. After you determine whether your website has been affected by an algorithm change or some other technical SEO issue, proceed accordingly. Sometimes the explanation is as simple as your competitors moving up in the SERPs and overtaking you—and just needing to adjust your keywords accordingly. 
  • Watch and listen. Check the update logs from different sources and read SEO experts’ opinions on the web regarding the update. Adjust your SEO strategy if making changes is required.
  • Wait and see. The update could be reversed by Google in a month so be prepared. Always have a backup plan when you make any changes to your website. Evaluate how the changes have impacted your website. Revert, if necessary.

What Else Do I Need to Know About Algorithm Updates?

Google’s algorithm updates are steady, frequent, unconfirmed, and challenging to conquer—and the only way to expect steady SEO results is to maintain good content habits. 

In the realm of search engine optimization, your central goal is to rank over your competition. You don’t need to be perfect, instead, you just need to have better SERPs than others. Luckily, a high-quality website is rarely affected by core algorithm updates and will pay off in the long run. 

Using the tips outlined within this guide will help you stay on top of changes, and ensure your site maintains a good SERP rank, optimized SEO, and top-quality content.