Google Algorithm Updates to Expect This Year
Google’s algorithm updates tend to come with a lot of uncertainty and questions, and getting ahead of them is the key to avoid any negative fluctuations in your keyword positioning. Based on research, history and hints from Google, here’s a look at algorithm updates to expect this year.
Natural Language Programme
Machine learning has become a big part of the SEO industry in recent years and one of Google’s latest tools has offered a strong indication as to where the next update is headed. The Natural Language tool includes a demo to show you how machine learning reads a website’s text and give it a score.
The max overall score a sentence can reach is 1, and the lowest score is -1. Anything over 0.25 is an adequate score according to the tool which indicates that Google understands what the sentence is about. The tool also includes a magnitude score and also a tab to show you what Google thinks the content is about.
The basically will allow you to tailor a website content to suit both the user as well as Google. The release of the BERT update late last year is still being fixed as Google still looks for keywords within the search query and tries to match it to the results as best as possible, but when that update was released a search query such as “cheap luxury holidays” will still show results for “luxury holidays” which obviously won’t be cheap.
The Natural Language tool will likely work to improve upon this and give webmasters a much better indication of how Google is reading the website’s content.
Technical due diligence is becoming a vital part of the tech world and without webmasters realising a lot of web developers can often cut corners to reduce workloads, but this isn’t ideal for the websites. Developers can often leave backends filled with useless code, slow the user experience down and poor navigation, which isn’t good for users, and in turn for Google. It might start off as a core update, but Google will likely start encouraging websites to improve their maintenance by offering the best user experience possible.
This ties in with Google previous updates to encourage faster mobile speed, as this can only be achieved by improving the websites development.
Reversing the Featured Snippet Update
Featured snippets are the websites that currently exist in position 0, and an update earlier this year made an unwelcome appearance for those holding multiple positions on the first page. Previously, URLs appearing in a featured snippet or position 0 would also frequently appear again lower down on the first page of SERPs.
The core update was to basically remove any websites second position, but this wasn’t ideal for most as click-through rates on featured snippets aren’t always guaranteed. Many outlets such as Moz have reported the websites affected by the update have had a massive decline in CTRs, which isn’t exactly fair as websites aren’t able to choose which position to drop.
With all the backlash, Google might try to identify a middle ground update in order to restore relevant links to the positions they earnt.