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Google Algorithms 2020

Last year, you may have seen James’ blog that made sense of Google’s ever-changing algorithms. Google have since made another significant change to their algorithms by introducing ‘BERT’, which can help the search engine to better understand natural language, as well as their regular Core Updates. Here is a quick explanation as to how:

BERT – Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers

Google has made the most important change to its algorithms since 2015 by rolling out BERT, their network-based artificial intelligence for processing natural language. They have revealed it helps the search engine to better understand the context of words that are used in everyday searches to join them with more suitable results. For example, it can now understand words which have dual meanings based on the words they are surrounded by, like the word ‘bank’ in phrases such as ‘bank transfer’ and ‘river bank’.

Although it is unlikely to be able to directly optimise your site for BERT, we would advise on simply continuing to write content that is relevant, precise and uses natural language throughout. Google now being able to understand the context of searched phrases should contribute to improving your rankings, as long as your copy is written well.

January & May 2020 Core Updates

Not much is given away by Google when it comes to their Core Updates, but we do know that updates to their algorithms are always made with the aim of improving the user’s search results and ensuring that they receive relevant and reliable content. Two of the Updates have been made this year, the first in January, and the second in May:

January 2020 Core Update

Here are some key points from the January Core Update:

- It appears that content which is factual, professional and expertly written is rewarded even more.

-Reassessment of the Quality Raters' Guidelines (QRG) to ensure trustworthy sites rank well.

- Deindexing of content which is seen as very spammy.

May 2020 Core Update

- It seems Google’s understanding of relevancy has improved further since this update, meaning that sites which surface are more likely to give a specific answer to a query.

- It is likely that signals which are used to determine a site’s expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness (E-A-T) were reassessed.

Quick tips for improving your rankings

With Google continuing to make regular updates to their engine, and the online world changing at a rapid pace, we thought we would put together some quick tips on how you can optimise your website with the aim of improving your rankings:

1 - It's not just high quality content that will get you the best results.

Sure – Google likes sites when they have the best-in-class content. But to rank highly, you should also focus your efforts on building links with other related websites and continue to implement the best practices of SEO. Click here to see best practices in Google’s SEO guide.

2 - Optimise for E-A-T.

This year, Google continues to focus on reputation as well as E-A-T (Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness) of an organisation and the content’s author. The trust value of content is becoming ever-more key due to engines looking for the most reliable sources of information and cracking down on Fake News. Ensure your pages are filled with to-the-point, expert info, that is truthful throughout.

3 - Refine your keyword phrases.

It’s all well and good optimising for keywords but using the same keywords over and over can actually have a negative impact on your rankings. We would advise on carrying out regular keyword research to discover exactly what your target audience is searching for, so you can optimise accordingly. The best keyword research tools can be found at Moz and SEMRush.

For more on Google’s algorithms and the most beneficial ways of optimising your site, stay up to date with expert opinion by checking out the Search Engine Journal and Search Engine Land.

If you would like further guidance with SEO to help drive traffic and improve results, get in touch to speak to our team. We’d love to help.