Digital marketing is an ultrafast industry. To maintain your position, you have to keep up with all the updates, changes, and trends. We took care to make it easier for our readers to do this with this summary of the Google algorithm updates. In today’s overview, we’ll elaborate on the main Google algorithm updates of the year and estimate their impact on your SEO strategy.
Keep reading to stay updated on the key SEO changes and tips for optimizations.
What Happened to Google Algorithm in 2021?
We’ve already written about the new opportunities and challenges presented by the Google Analytics 4 version in one of the previous articles. The continuous changes in the Google algorithm represent the tendency to make search results more personalized and SEO ranking rather quality-based than mechanical.
How were the Google algorithm updates received and what do they mean for your SEO strategy? Let’s zoom in on the main changes and the opportunities they give.
Passage Ranking Update
Introduced on February 11, 2021, the Passage Ranking Update became the new way of ranking long pieces of content by their structure. With the update, Google understands the page’s content better and ultimately helps provide a better user experience by populating SERPs with better answers and other kinds of the most relevant results. Different passages of the same article could be ranked separately. In this way, convenience for the user is achieved: now the search result includes not only articles with the title by the query but also articles where the query corresponds to the most relevant piece of content.
About This Result
The information box with such a name appeared to provide users with more information about the sources they are interacting with. It’s an attempt to give additional context and details about each website using the data from Wikipedia. Google also helps match the language and applies relevant geographic locations to provide the users with the best results.
To increase the likelihood that users will find your resources promptly, research search terms and enrich pages with keywords from them as well as with relevant terms. Use geolocation to reach the audience nearby. “About this result” Google algorithm Update started from English-language results in the USA and keeps spreading to other languages and geography.
Product Reviews Update
Since April 8, 2021, product reviews in the search results appear according to their relevance. Google Search Center announced the update with the advice to content creators: to check if their reviews contain helpful information, including:
- Expert knowledge,
- Unique product usage descriptions,
- Explanations about what sets the product apart from the competitors,
- Research results,
- Quantitative measurements,
The update is the guide to shopper-related information to change towards understandability and necessity for the potential buyers. Even without in-depth research, we can say that many marketers will have to work hard on the content. This is a great opportunity for stores to add that unique touch to every product page. Ecommerce sites have been waiting for this unique type of content to be added, but be cautious of duplicating manufacturers’ product descriptions.
The MUM Update
The Multitask Unified Model Update took place in July 2021 and aimed to deliver search results that overcome barriers like language and format. It allows interpreting and understanding the world knowledge for the topic. MUM delivers more of what we’d like to find without performing multiple searches using more information about the core query. It is the next step for a search engine to provide more expert results, other than just listing an answer to a direct question.
With text-to-text frameworks and an understanding of 75 different languages, the MUM update gives users seeking more complicated answers a comprehensive search experience.
Link Spam Update and Title Tag Update
Implemented with a month’s interval, the Link Spam Update and the Title Tag Update were perceived differently in practice. The Title Tag Update resulted in Google stopping showing 20% of the publisher’s title tags in its result pages. Automated Title Tags and are not always an improvement. Here are three main things to avoid to keep your title tags from rewriting:
- Missing or duplicate title tag;
- Overly long title tags going over the recommended ~160 characters,
- Keyword stuffing.
Besides those three factors, there is another, which is pretty obvious but sometimes neglected: relevancy to the page and its main content.
Now let’s focus on countering link spam. The essence is avoiding link schemes and placing only appropriate high-quality links. Quality requirements for guest posts are also increasing with the Link Spam Update. Following best practices of link building and Google’s Webmaster Guidelines will keep your site from dropping in search results. Generally, the Link Spam Update is good for users and raises the bar for quality content. It requires more attention and verification from SEO specialists, but no unrealistic effort. This update puts an emphasis on the fair game that Google requires everyone to play.
Mobile-First Indexing Update
As most of the searches come from mobile devices, Google predominantly uses the mobile version of the content for indexing and ranking.
Long story short, for businesses, this means the critical need for a mobile-friendly website, even if your major conversions come from the desktop. Google’s algorithms analyze the content from your site’s mobile version first and rank your page on SERPs by them.
Here are steps for preparing your website for Google’s Page Experience Update:
- Analyze the Core Web Vitals of your website and make some general improvements to them. For example, compress the images you uploaded to the website as they usually lower the load speed.
- Resolve all the possible security issues like malware, hacked content, or social engineering. Google defines them as threats.
- Add HTTPS to your URLs to add three layers of security to your website.
- Optimize ad experience on your pages: Use pop-ups with discretion and place ads in unobtrusive places.
This seems obvious, but according to the authors of the MOZ blog, the web is generally unready for the update. In conclusion, taking the update seriously and considering performance as a ranking factor can help you get ahead of the game, and now it addresses the mobile side of things more than ever.
What Is Google Discover and Why Do You Need to Get There?
There are more ways to appear in SERPs, and we will advise you to learn more about them. Among the organic content systems, Google Discover is one of the least explored. While Google Search provides results based on users’ queries, Google Discover shows content based on users interests. This means that Google’s algorithms analysing user’s queries, behavioral metrics and other knowledge about a specific user got even further and are improving. So, we wondered how it works and found this case study interesting for everyone working with marketing content.
Mordy Oberstein from Semrush took on the difficult task of analyzing their own Google Discover feed by type and source. You can read about the results in the article: What Kind of Content Appears in Google Discover [Case Study]
“To sum it all up, Discover can be a great source of traffic, — Mordy says in conclusion, — At the same time, there’s a lot of “big name” competition and limited space for certain types of content. Understanding what your target audience’s feed may look like is a great way to get some insights. My advice: Try to behave like your target profile might (under a clean Google account), and see how the feed behaves for you!“
Stay Updated with the Latest Changes to Google Algorithm and All the SEO Changes
Tired of keeping track of all the changes and looking for someone to trust your website’s SEO?
We’re always here to help! We believe in numbers, prioritization, white hat practices, and organic strategies that will keep bringing your company inbound leads months and months after implementation. Contact us for personalized SEO strategy for your website and your target keywords.