A Guide to Google’s Search Algorithms

In their most basic form, Google’s algorithms are mechanisms for retrieving information from its index and presenting it for a specific search query. These algorithms are designed mainly to provide you, the user, with helpful, factual, and up-to-date information. They monitor and penalize factors like AI, thin, and duplicate content. It’s essential to stay updated with Google’s algorithm changes and adapt to them to avoid losing valuable traffic and ensure SEO success. 

The Purpose of Google Algorithms

An endless amount of information is available online – some accurate, some not so much. Without Google Algorithms, finding what you need would be nearly impossible. With the various algorithms, Google will work hard to find the closest match to your search query. The algorithms look at numerous things, including: 

  • The Words in Your Search
  • The Relevance and Usability of Pages
  • Expertise of Sources
  • Location and Settings

Depending on the nature of your search, the weight of each can vary—for example, a news search vs. a dictionary definition. Google will occasionally refine and update the algorithm to improve the user experience on the search results page. The goal of these updates is the same as the goal of the algorithm itself—to provide high-quality results that answer the user’s question while giving a strong search experience. 

What To Expect With Algorithm Updates

When Google rolls out an algorithm update, it’s essential to know critical signs in the weeks before, during, and after the update has launched. One of the first indications is SERP volatility — if you notice a drop in rankings and traffic, it may mean Google is testing new updates or actively rolling one out. Knowing these signs can help you stay prepared and adapt your SEO strategies accordingly. 

Occasionally, after an update has been released, Google assesses whether it has been “successful.” Based on this assessment, they may choose to keep the update, remove it, or make an update to it. This is why it’s essential to stay updated with the latest updates, even after they have been launched. Any changes to the current algorithms are just as significant as new ones. 

A Preview of the Latest Algorithms

Determined to create the best user experience possible, Google has hundreds of algorithms that impact your ranking – some much older than others, some way more important than others. Here are some of the latest algorithm updates you should keep in mind to maintain a strong position on the search results page.

1. Core Algorithm

In March 2024, Google launched an update involving changes to multiple core systems. The main goal was to improve the quality of search results by adding a variety of mechanisms to identify helpful content and reduce the amount of “search-engine-first content” – content that doesn’t answer the user’s query and forces them to keep clicking.

2. Helpful Content

In September 2023, Google released the Helpful Content update. This update improves the methods by which Google classifies helpful content. This algorithm is designed to provide helpful, reliable, people-first content for a user’s search query. A good way to judge your content is through Google’s E-E-A-T guidelines.

3. Spam Policies

In March 2024, Google launched their new spam policies. These three new policies respond to complaints that the search results page showed higher spam results. The three types of spam control include expired domain abuse, scaled content abuse, and site reputation abuse. 

4. Product Reviews

This review update rolled out in December 2023, rewards high-quality reviews and aims to remove fake reviews from local listings on Google Search and Google Maps. It is designed to provide users with insightful, in-depth reviews rather than thin content that summarizes many products and services. 

Work with Boston Web Marketing

If you own a business, keeping up to date with the latest Google algorithms is the last thing on your mind. At Boston Web Marketing, we stay tuned into the latest SEO trends and Google updates. Work with us today to receive measurable results in improving your search ranking and traffic to your website.

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