You type something into the Google search bar and immediately get a list of relevant results to your query. What actually happens when you search Google that allows it to give you the answers you need? Behind the scenes, algorithms are at work to help search engines find, catalog and rank the best results. But as a marketer, how can you adjust your content and SEO strategy when search engine algorithms are updated so frequently?
Understanding SEO – What Happens When You Type in the Search Bar?
A basic understanding of SEO begins with the knowledge that it’s meant to help people find the answers they’re searching for. For a straightforward explanation of the SEO process, here are the three major tasks Google performs to produce the most relevant search results:
1. Crawling (or scouring) the Internet, looking for content
Content includes text on a web page, images, videos, infographics, PDFs, etc. But soon after these robots begin their search, they discover new content by finding links. They’ll follow the links to new URLs, and the process continues to collect relevant information.
2. Indexing (or cataloging)
All of the content found during the crawl is then organized and stored in a huge database. This content can potentially be shown to those searching Google, but the order in which it shows up on a search engine result page (SERP) will depend on the next step: ranking.
Rank is a way of indicating content quality from most to least relevant. Which, of all the indexed content, will best serve the searcher’s needs? That’s what Google is aiming to produce. Algorithms play a pivotal role in determining how Google judges relevance. With each new algorithm update, Google is trying to perfect its process for answering the question of finding the information the searcher has asked for.
As a marketer, your job is to understand what your customer is looking for online, what kind of content they want to see, and which words or terms they use to search for this content. But to get people to find you online, you must know how to take advantage of Google’s algorithms and stay on top of its updates.
A Brief History of Google’s Biggest Algorithm Updates
To reiterate, Google aims to provide the best information match for the searcher’s query. The reason Google continues to change its algorithm is to make the search process better by delivering more useful and relevant results. SEO experts have tracked the most significant algorithm updates of the past nine years and have described the changes made.1
Panda Algorithm – 2011
The update assigned a quality score to web pages to penalize:
- Plagiarized, duplicate, or thin content
- User-generated spam
- Keyword stuffing
These changes were permanently incorporated into Google’s core algorithm in 2016.
Penguin Algorithm – 2012
This update’s object was to down-rank sites where the backlinks (links from other sites that point to yours) looked suspect. It was an effort to stop link-building through link farms or private blog networks that connect a loose connection of expired domains to send links back to the primary domain.
Mobile Algorithm – 2015
This was the first of the algorithmic updates that accounted for mobile usability (or how your site functions on a mobile screen versus a desktop).
Medic Algorithm – 2018
This update attempted to correct for websites that didn’t signal enough authority or expertise but could impact a searcher’s well-being. Some targeted categories included health and safety sites, finance, news, government, law, and shopping.
Bert Algorithm – 2019
Focused on poorly written content and lack of context or focus.
Core Updates – 2017 to the Present
These are either groups of smaller updates implemented all at once or improvements on updates made in previous years.
The SEO experts at Moz admit that Google currently makes more than 3,000 updates per year.2 These are mostly smaller changes, but even with only one or two major updates a year, it requires a lot of time, experience, and knowledge to understand these changes and make SEO corrections accordingly.
Let Experts Take Charge of Your SEO Strategy
If you’re not regularly paying attention to the changing SEO landscape and evaluating the frequent Google algorithm updates, it’s extremely challenging to build and maintain a strong online presence. At Full Circle SEM, we have the knowledge and expertise to take charge of your SEO strategy because we understand how to interpret the algorithmic changes and make the proper adjustments.
But we know it’s not about gaming the system or short-term results. Our talented staff will create quality content and then construct the links that will build your online credibility, increase your authority, and improve your search engine rankings. It’s the long game that matters, and you can count on our team members to develop an SEO strategy to achieve your marketing goals.
Contact Full Circle SEM today to learn more about how we can take your SEO to the next level.