What Are SEO Algorithm Updates?

Every year, Google updates its search results thousands upon thousands of times. While the majority of these updates are small adjustments to Google’s algorithm, they can have big implications for you, your site and your potential revenue. Even a small update can cause a page that once ranked at the top of the results to move to page two or beyond, lessening the chances that a user will see it, let alone visit it.

SEO algorithm updates


Google used an algorithm called PageRank that relied heavily on the number and quality of links a website/page received to rank content on a search results page. The model considered links to confirm the quality of a page’s content, if a page was frequently linked by high-quality sites, then Google assumed it must contain quality content.


Google’s algorithm evolved to better understand search queries and content. Google used a semantic approach to redesign its core algorithm and named it Hummingbird. It measured the essence of a page’s content using signals to better understand how relevant it was to the query.


This allowed Google to analyze vast amounts of user data to determine which pages satisfied users’ intent when searching for a specific query. With this information, RankBrain could build models to understand which on-page factors or content signals were more or less important to the searcher and use them to structure search results.

Google brain ranking algorithm update

Order factors

While the SEO industry has long debated specific ranking factors or ranking signals, there is a lot of misinformation on the subject, and I strongly advocate a holistic approach. These factors include anything from page performance to links to content relevance. Many SEO experts debate the importance of one ranking factor over another, while others will try to “optimize” for as many “factors” as possible.

This is a mistake

The factors Google uses vary from query to query, industry to industry. Google uses a complex process to rank content that uses machine learning to understand language and better classify and profile content to determine its quality.

What is a Google algorithm update?

Google’s competitive landscape is more diverse than you might think. Google needs to provide the best possible results. They consider many factors, including user expectations and technological updates. To keep users happy and improve their results, Google often updates or “tweaks” its algorithm to change what the SERPs show.

Confirmed and unconfirmed google updates

Google makes thousands of changes to its algorithm each year, but only officially announces a minority of these updates. Instead, search marketers use the SEO Weather Tool to monitor significant algorithm changes. When they see more movement in the rating than usual, they indicate a level of volatility in the rating.

Google core algorithm update

Major updates to the core algorithm occur when Google implements major changes to how the algorithm works. Rather than minor tweaks to ancillary aspects, these updates signal a sweeping change in how Google’s algorithm ranks pages and websites.


As a business owner and marketer, the latest Google updates can seem like a lot of detail and work. you are not wrong. The updates and changes you may need to make can be overwhelming. This content not only fills your search queries, but competes with your business and marketing content.