Even in 2021, SEO is the best way to drive highly relevant, targeted and convertible traffic to your website. That’s not all, appearing among the first few results on the search engine results pages (SERPs) improves the credibility of your website, while enhancing brand awareness. Now, the search engine that you want to rank high on is Google. The popularity of this search engine is well reflected in the fact that Google isn’t just a noun, it is also a verb now.
The problem is that Google is constantly adding and updating its search algorithms, with the aim of weeding out low quality, spammy sites. If you’ve been a website owner for even a couple of years, you might have not just heard of Panda, Penguin and Pigeon, you might have even been bitten by one of these beasts.
The most recent to join the army of algos is BERT, an AI tool that judges the user experience of a page and helps Google rank pages by their UX. BERT has been rolled out for 100% of the searches in 2021, as compared to just 10% in 2019. So, to ensure that your site accounts for the latest algorithms, to ensure best SEO results, here’s what you need to know.
The Google Algorithms
You can imagine how often Google works on its algorithms by just checking out the names it gives each one. Starting out with animals, it has now resorted to human names. Here are the most relevant ones for your SEO efforts.
This one judges the quality of the content on a website. The higher the quality, the higher the ranking.
Similar to Panda, this one judges the link profiles of websites. Credible backlinks positive impact rankings.
Now, Google was using two separate algorithms, with one evaluating websites for traditional searches, while the other was meant for local searches. But this approach didn’t bring up the best results. So, the Pigeon update was launched, which helped these two algos cooperate. With Pigeon, a website’s rank is determined by the location of the business and its distance from the searcher. The closer the business, the higher the ranking.
Google now realized that the best way to give searchers the right results was to interpret their search intent first. So, the Hummingbird algorithm was developed to understand the intent behind the search query and then bring up webpages that matched the intent the best.
No, Google isn’t offering you money. This algorithm has a lot in common with both Panda and Penguin but it targets sites that use high-risk SEO methods, as well as sites offering high interest loans, pornographic content, casino sites, etc.
With 60% of online searches being conducted on mobile devices, Google was bound to introduce this ranking factor sooner or later. Its Mobile-First algorithm checks for user experience of a website on small screens.
This refers to all the minor updates that are made to Google’s search algos very regularly. Fred is constantly tweaked to weed out aggressive advertisement, low-value, thin content and poor user experience.
Another Algo in the Pipeline
Google has announced that it will include Page Experience as a factor in its search rankings from May 2021. According to the search giant, “The page experience signal measures aspects of how users perceive the experience of interacting with a web page. Optimizing for these factors makes the web more delightful for users across all web browsers and surfaces, and helps sites evolve towards user expectations on mobile. We believe this will contribute to business success on the web as users grow more engaged and can transact with less friction.”
So, the Page Experience update will check all aspects of how a visitor interacts with a site. This will include existing evaluation criteria as well, such as mobile-first, safe browsing, intrusive interstitial guidelines, HTTPS, etc. It will also include Google’s Web Vitals metrics, such as loading time, visual stability and interactivity.
Don’t wait till you see traffic to your site dwindling. Get your SEO on point, in sync with the latest Google algorithms.