Major Google Algorithms & Changes In 2018: A Complete History - Blurbpoint

Posted by Sanket Patel

December 31, 2018

Google SEO 26 min read

With the passing year of 2018, it has been observed that new Google updates and shifts were detected almost every day. Some were not significant enough to get noticed whereas others were quite noticeable. Of course, in our busy schedules, we don’t have the time to keep up with each and every one of these updates. However, it is still very important to understand the ongoing trends so that you can implement them in your strategies accordingly.

We have kept a timeline of all the changes made by Google all year long and what type of impact will these changes have on your business.

Let’s get started!

February 28, 2018: Multifaceted Featured Snippets

Google updated its search results which included multifaceted featured snippets. These snippets were introduced for nuance queries which are broad enough to have more than one interpretation. The main aim of introducing this feature was for questions that did not have one specific explanation or just one answer.

March 19, 2018: Subscribe with Google

Google introduced a simple way to subscribe and stay connected with your favorite source of news. It also allows you to access these sources anywhere even within the search results. Subscribe with Google was mainly introduced with the intention to cut out the lengthy process of signing up and registering. This is also best as you do not have to sign in every time you need to visit a website.

You can now simply buy a subscription and participate using your Google account.

May 13, 2018: Snippet Length Decreases

In December 2017 it was announced by Google that they had increased the length of snippets to 300+ characters. When the data from RankRangerwas derived it was seen that it puts the average snippet length in recent weeks at 160. it was also stated by that there is no set of length and it depends upon what the systems find most useful.

This is yet another way to ensure that Google is able to refine relevant results. This was done due to the fact that longer snippets were causing too much noise in boosting the rankings. It is best to keep the meta descriptions concise with the help of majority contextually relevant keywords and phrases.

June 14, 2018: Video Carousels

Video Carousels

As we all remember Google search results were seen in thumbnails. However, it was seen that Google has converted these search results into a dedicated video carousel. This caused a shake up in the results that were previously tracked as organic. During the same time, the number of SERPs with the videos increased significantly.
July 9, 2018: Speed Update Debuts Worldwide

On January 2018, it was announced that Google was in time with its speed updates. The updates help in solidifying the page speed and the ranking on mobile pages. Websites with fast mobile pages are always preferred so this new update will only affect the websites with slow mobile sites. And thus this will not affect the ranking of fast mobile sites that much.

Google will record the page performance of the AMP-specific URL who use Google accelerated mobile pages. This will make it necessary for businesses to have a fast mobile page for their website. It comes as no surprise that it has becomes mandatory to have a fast responsive website for your business so that your SEO is improved and your users can get a better browsing experience.

July 20, 2018: Google Updates Search Quality Rating Guidelines

When the quality search guidelines were released in 2015, several new updates were made thereafter. Here are over 10000 raters who evaluate the quality of Google’s search results. The latest guidelines focus on the reputation of the content creators and the website as well. The content of a website is what impacts the website’s overall reputation. This makes it important for the website to have a proper well detailed ‘ about us’ as well as a proper author’s bio. The new guidelines by Google that were in relevance to a Search engine will also focus on the quality of the content that is posted on the website.

It was also revealed that the reputation of a site will also be adversely affected if the headline of the website is not too sensational or even if the content of the website is not in relevance with the optimization purpose.

August 1, 2018: The Medic Update

The search engine has been quite vague about the core updates that have been incorporated to make search results more accurate. This as a result also means that if your website loses its ranking after this update, there is nothing to be worried about. There is nothing wrong with your website that needs to be addressed immediately. However, according to experts, it is still difficult to tell which SEO strategy will be long term. It is ideal to wait for a bit before making any dramatic changes to your website.

It is advisable to wait for at least 10-15 days before evaluating or implementing the changes on your website. A sudden drop in the ranking of your website can be quite stressful, however, this can be due to the changes in the algorithms of Google.

August 16, 2018: Expandable Snippets by Topic

With this new tweak introduced on August 16, users are now able to learn a bit extra about a search topic without the need of leaving the existing page on Google. These snippets were introduced to provide the users with more in-depth information on the similarities and differences between the two topics. These comparisons will also include drop-down menus which will consist of other subtopics for further reference.

This latest tweak reduces the need to dig further for answers and helps the users to minimize the time that they spend while searching for a particular topic. This will help you to create content which answers all the right questions.

September 12, 2018: Chatter update

It was observed that most of the tools were showing significant volatility and some chatter was observed. However, the chatter was not too extreme but some of the tracking tools were observed to be off the chart. This update was not as significant as the Medic update that happened back in August.

October 27 : Featured Snippet Drop

There was a substantial drop in featured snippets. This occurred with a jump in the knowledge Panels as it was also observed that Google seemed to add many panels for broader terms and objects. Some of these panels were seem to disappear within few days.

November 2018 : Thanksgiving Update

During thanksgiving, it was observed that there was a huge change in terms of rankings. Earlier, it was speculated that this might be because traffic is always off during holidays. However, it was then claimed that it might be due to a possible reversal of the Medic update.

Moreover, In mid November, a nice amount of community noticed some changes in traffic and ranking. Some uncommon keywords were seen ranked higher than famous ones. There were some early chatter in some of the forums such as Black Hat Worlds etc.

Wrapping it up

This article shed some light on what was going on so far with the algorithms in the year of 2018. Apart from these updates there are various other minor updates made by Google, constantly. Google is clearly testing some new signals and refining its algorithm. If your business has been impacted by these constant changes, it is recommended to run user testing, address customer satisfaction and also create a strong plan to implement for improving your overall site.

Make sure you stay tuned for any further algorithm updates for the month of December 2018.


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