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Google’s 2019 SEO Year In Review

2019 has been a busy year for Google. With 4 major algorithm updates from the search engine, 561 Media has been busy combatting these changes on behalf of our clients, while strictly adhering to Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. Google is constantly changing the way that pages are ranked to keep business competitive, and avoid manipulation by crafty, and often deceiving search marketers. Throughout the year, there were smaller, unconfirmed updates by Google regarding the search algorithm. Unconfirmed updates are categorized as volatility in the search engine that points to changes in the way pages are ranked. In this post from the 561 Media blog, we’ll go over the 4 major algorithm updates that were confirmed and discussed by Google in 2019.

March 2019 Google Algorithm Update

In March of 2019, Google confirmed there was a change in the search algorithm. This change was confirmed via the Google SearchLiaison Twitter Account:

Apart from Google saying “this update happened”, they released absolutely no additional information on how the update changed search results. What changed was mostly discovered by industry insiders, like those behind websites like Search Engine Land, Search Engine Roundtable, Moz, SEMRush, and more. What did these industry insiders discover? Well, this is another aspect that’s up for debate. Overall, no solid pattern of change could be identified. 58% of those industry insiders surveyed said they saw a negative impact from the update, while 33% said they saw a positive impact. On the other hand, 9% of those surveyed said they saw no impact whatsoever. 

Unfortunately, this is the nature of many confirmed Google Algorithm updates. “What changed?” is the question on many marketers and business owner’s minds, and oftentimes, this question is never fully answered. 

June 2019 Google Algorithm Update 

In June, Google announced an Algorithm update a day ahead of its release for the first time ever:

This update took five days to roll out completely. You guessed it – Google didn’t say anything else other than that the update was happening. What this update affected was, again, to be discovered by industry insiders. Luckily, they were able to discover more than what was identified from the March update. It was found out that the June update affected more domains than any prior core update. Overall, major visibility gains were seen in the medical industry SERPs.

September 2019 Core Update

On September 24th, Google announced that another core algorithm update was on its way – just a few hours before it rolled out:

This time around, industry insiders were able to identify that this update directly affected both the travel and medical industries. At the same time, they noticed that ranking and traffic fluctuations weren’t as intense as the June update. Of course, Google had nothing to say on the matter besides that the update occurred. This was the last confirmed ‘Core’ update of the year. The update that occurred after September 2019 was something entirely different. 

BERT – October 25th Algorithm Update 

Enter BERT, an entirely new algorithm entity introduced by Google towards the end of October. BERT stands for Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers… whew. We’ll stick with BERT from here on out. BERT is an open-sourced technique for understanding natural language. Google stated this was the biggest change to the search system since 2015, and that the update will impact 1 out of 10 searches. Within the context of searching on Google, BERT helps the search engine better understand “longer, more conservational queries or searches where prepositions like ‘for’ and ‘to’ matter a lot to the meaning.” Essentially, Google utilized BERT to prepare the search engine for voice search dominance, as AI like Siri, Alexa, and Google Home become more popular. 

As an interesting side note, Bing introduced BERT to its search engine around April. Of course, they didn’t announce this fact until after Google revealed the implementation of BERT.

Trust 561 Media To Guide You Through The Everchanging Landscape That Is Google 

At 561 Media, we’re experts when it comes to combatting Google’s algorithm update and changes. We should be – we’ve been doing it for over a decade! As a Google Certified partner, there’s no better company to help you with your organic search efforts in the state of Florida and beyond. Want to learn more about our outstanding SEO services? Give us a call at (561) 417-8505 or contact us online.

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