How Google Has Updated its Focus on User Experience Over the Years

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A new article on Search Engine Journal reports Google has always focused on searcher experience. Here's a short timeline of Google algorithm updates designed to improve user experience.

Google has prioritized user experience for years, and this article looks at a combination of some (not all) Google updates and upgrades that significantly reflect the search engine's focus on users and their online experiences:
  • Google Panda was launched in 2011, and targeted sites with low-quality content.
  • Google Hummingbird came in 2013, straight after the introduction of Knowledge Graph. Hummingbird focused on semantic search and was designed to help Google understand the intent and context behind searches.
  • E-A-T happened in 2014 and advised marketers to focus on content that could potentially impact their readers' future happiness, health, financial stability, or safety.
  • Mobile Update arrived in 2015 and was the first time Google gave marketers a heads-up (or a warning, for many) that an update was coming. It concentrated on user experience on mobile.
  • RankBrain occurred in 2015 and was more of a change to the algorithm than anything else. It heralded the rising importance of machine learning in powering search results based on an even better understanding of users' intent.
  • Google Mobile-First Indexing arrived in 2018 and meant that Google would now use the mobile version of a webpage for indexation and ranking.
  • Broad Core Algorithm Updates came the same year. Google's Danny Sullivan offered the following advice at the time:

"Want to do better with a broad change? Have great content. Yeah, the same boring answer. But if you want a better idea of what we consider great content, read our raters guidelines. That's like almost 200 pages of things to consider."
BERT happened in 2019 and developed on RankBrain, using natural language processing to help Google understand conversational queries.
COVID-19 Pandemic, March 2020: This unprecedented period saw Google continue to focus on E-A-T signals in the context of a global pandemic. This is how Google announced the update back in May 2020:

"We recognize many site owners are rightfully placing their focus on responding to the effects of COVID-19. The ranking changes described in this post will not happen before next year, and we will provide at least six months notice before they're rolled out."
#experience #focus #google #updated #user #years
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  • Profile picture of the author brettb
    All well and good but has anyone else noticed their YouTube recommendations get stuck in a rut (especially music)?

    What is cool though is that it does do a good job of noticing what I'm no longer interested in.
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