Google Updates 2019

Google Search Updates 2019 – A Complete Guide

As always 2019 has seen several updates to the way its search algorithm works. Below I have outlined the main Google updates of 2019. This will help you to make sure that any SEO techniques that you are using, fall in-line with the latest changes.

All the changes that I have listed below have been confirmed by Google as official changes. The SEO Community believe there to be more.

I have not included them but you can find a more detailed historical list of suspected changes over at Moz.

Google Search Confirmed Changes 2019 Timeline

March 2019 Core Update

March 12th 2019 saw the first of the main confirmed Google search updates of the year. The changes affected websites that mainly focused on sensitive subjects (Health industry etc)

This update has seen Google favour websites that have a strong brand profile and high level of trust. This was particularly noticeable when searching for YMYL keywords.

The new Google Search update has increased focus on user signals, when ranking websites. Focus on lower bounce rates, and higher pages per visit than your online competitors.

How to come in-line with this update:

1. Build brand & trust
Make sure that your brand is seen everywhere that is relevant to your niche. Become an authority. Share and create engaging content that people want to link to and read. Keep them on your site longer. Be consistent.

2. Follow Google’s Quality Rater Guidelines
Google has it’s very own quality rater guidelines for people assessing websites. It makes complete sense to follow the suggestions outlined in the document. You can have a read of the exiting(!) document here

3. Optimise for user intent
Does your website page meet the expectations of the visitor? Topic based content optimises for a number of keyword terms. Make sure that your page is thorough and concise. Consider using FAQ Schema to enhance your search listing and content.

Deindexing Bug — April 2019

The deindexing bug saw a dropout of about 4% of urls from Google search results. This has been rectified and the urls have been returned to the index. This was not a deliberate update but shows us that we should not be reliant on just organic traffic. You must have multiple sources of traffic to your website.

Indexing Bugs — May 2019

May 23rd 2019 the indexing bug happened twice within a week and saw issues with indexing new content. Now resolved it had big implications for sites that relied on breaking news, and first release content.

June 2019 Core Update

Released on June 3, 2019 The June Core Google Search update was the second core update of the year. It was the first ever core update that Google announced in advance of its release. This update focused on quality of content and reliability of the information given. It gives weight to becoming a recognised brand and authority within your niche.

Site Diversity Update – June

Released on June 6th, 2019. The diversity update was to limit the number of results shown in the SERPS. There is now a limit of only 2 pages allowed from the same website.

September 2019 Core Update

For the 3rd time this year Google announced that it is updating its core index algorithm. This update affected all industries and search indexes. The Google Search updates was actioned on September 24, 2019. It primarily focused on evaluating the quality of a website. Google recommends assessing your website against the following:

Content & Quality: Does the website offer original, high-quality content? Are the page title and description appealing and do they reflect the content? If you were a webmaster, would you share the content with friends?

Expertise: Is the content trustworthy? Does the page contain errors? Would you, as a webmaster arriving at the page via Google search, trust the website you find?

Presentation & Production: Is the content well researched and produced? Are there too many ads? Does the page load appropriately on all devices? (Mobile First Indexing)

Competitive comparison: Does the website offer added value when compared with its competitors? Does the content fulfil the user’s expectations?

BERT Update — October 2019

This is the final confirmed Google Search update of 2019 (October 22, 2019). It is very much like the RankBrain update where it is a machine learning update. Google is primarily trying to better understand the context of a page. The algorithm focuses on human like queries with a conversational focus (Voice Search)

BERT helps Google understand the nuances and context of words in searches. It better matches those queries with more relevant results.

The update has affected over 10% of search queries according to Google.

SEO in 2020

Google is making it a focus to create expert, authoritative, and trustworthy content. Not surprising considering this is the focus of their own quality rater guidelines. That seems to be the purpose of the Google Search Updates anyway.

So, what do you do now? For SEO in 2020 I recommend that you stay with the focus of EAT. Become a respectable brand sharing quality content to your audience. Create fresh new, engaging content. Help answer queries that your respective customers want answering.

No SEO is not dead! As outlined above Google is looking for quality websites. Site architecture, technical SEO, content, link acquisition strategies and social presence all need to go hand in hand. Produce Expertise, Authority and Trustworthiness content that Google is looking for.

Who can help me? If you are concerned about whether your website is in keeping with the updates of 2019, you can always get some help. I know of some great SEO Agencies in Norwich or you can contact me as an SEO Freelancer. We can then advise you of the best way forward; in making sure that your website is future proofed for any further Google Search updates.

SEO Terminology

What is EAT SE0?

EAT stands for Expertise, Authority and Trustworthiness. It is the measure of how much trust Google puts on your website and is a major ranking factor. Google wants the user to have the best experience when visiting a website so it gives extra weight to those websites that it can trust.

What does the SEO term YMYL mean?

The term YMYL means ‘Your Money or Your Life’. Generally the term is used to describe content that if presented inaccurately can affect your health, happiness, safety and financial stability.

What are Google Quality Rater Guidelines?

The Google Quality Rater Guidelines are used by humans when rating the quality of websites. It is a blueprint for Googles Search Algorithm. It is believed to be in-line with adjustments made to current algorithms enforcing E-A-T.

What was the RankBrain Update?

Launched in early 2015 the RankBrain update is the 3rd most important update that Google has given to its search algorithm. It’s a machine-learning artificial intelligence system used to help rank web pages. It helps Google process search results more relevant to user intent keywords.