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Google Search Engine and Changes in Google Algorithm


The world-reputed Google Search is a search engine provided by Google. It handles additional 3.5 billion searches every day and a 92% share of the global search engine market. Another known fact is that Google is the majorly viewed website in the whole world at present.

Google algorithms are a complex system used to recover data from its search index and quickly deliver the absolute result for a query. The search engine uses algorithms and numerous ranking factors to deliver webpages ranked by relevance; on its search engine result pages (SERPs).

In its initial phase, Google only had a few updates to its algorithms. But at present, Google makes thousands of changes every year. Most of these updates are quite minor and they have high chances to go unnoticed. However, on certain occasions, the search engine rolls out major algorithmic updates that significantly impact the SERPs.

Some of the major updates to Google

The major Google updates
The first main Google Algorithm change had been Google Panda Update which came on February 23rd, 2011. It was mainly Google’s quest to eliminate black hat SEO tactics and web spam. What actually followed with the Panda algorithm was to assign pages with a quality classification, which is used internally and modeled after human quality ratings. It got incorporated as a ranking factor from 2011 onwards. Even in 2021, we can see the importance of Panda, which Google launched with a primary focus on quality & user experience.

In 2012, Google officially launched the web-spam algorithm update, which mainly targeted link spam and manipulative link-building practices. The web-spam algorithm later became known (officially) as the Penguin algorithm update.

Before the Penguin algorithm, a major part in determining a web page’s score when crawled, indexed, and analyzed by Google was played by link volume. It actually means when it came to ranking websites by these scores for search results pages, some low-quality websites and pieces of content appeared in more prominent positions in the organic search results than they should have. This was a strict measure to control low-quality content, which started with the Panda algorithm, and Penguin was an extension & addition to prohibiting such content. The actual response provided by Google to the increasing practice of manipulating search results and rankings through black hat link-building techniques was the Penguin.

In August 2013, the next algorithm change was made, which was announced in September 2013, and it was called Google Hummingbird. The Hummingbird update was significant and described by Google as the biggest change to the algorithm from 2001. It is often highlighted that Hummingbird makes the Google core algorithm more precise and faster. In this section, the word precise is more significant. In this manner, there is a steady movement from matching keywords on a query to more precise intent matching the same meaning. It could be inferred that Hummingbird is Google Search Engines assurance to a classy, thoughtful idea of understanding the intent of searcher’s queries with the motive of matching them to more relevant results. Here, more importance is on Semantic Search; which seeks to improve search accuracy by understanding the searcher’s intent via contextual meaning. It can be stated that the Semantic search conveys an enhanced understanding of searcher intent, the capability to extract responses, and delivers more tailored results.

In 2015, Google changed its algorithm and adopted Google RankBrain to provide the best relevant search results. RankBrain is a part of Google’s algorithm that uses machine learning and artificial intelligence to understand a search query. It has been assumed that this understanding can assist the re-occurrence of the most appropriate search results to the query searchers. It could also be explained in this manner that RankBrain is a machine-learning algorithm (AI) that the google search engine uses to sort the search results, and it also helps the search engine to recognize & process the search queries. Hence, it could be concluded that RankBrain is a system (or) a mechanism through which the Google search engine can recognize the likely user’s intent of a search query in a better way.

On June 16th, 2021, Google introduced another update on the broad core algorithm called The Page Experience Update. The primary objective of this update is to provide improved experiences to users through pages that offer quality page performance, which actually means increasing load times and providing a non-shifting and stable page. Google has always had some page experience metrics for mobile compatibility, intrusive interstitials, and HTTPS security. Google’s page experience update for desktop search comprises almost identical ranking factors as the algorithm, which was launched on mobile search earlier. As we all know that improvement in the loading speed, responsiveness, and stability of the websites will ultimately build a better user experience (UX).

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