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Hackernoon logoGoogle’s Search Algorithm: How Does It Work And How To Deal With It In 2020 by@jamesmurpy

Google’s Search Algorithm: How Does It Work And How To Deal With It In 2020

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@jamesmurpyJames Murphy

James Murphy is a tech guru and a blogger from New York. James mostly writes about new technologies.

You don’t have to be an SEO mastermind to know that Google dominates the global search engine market. The largest search engine accounts for over 75% of all desktop search traffic, while Bing, Baidu, and Yahoo follow with barely 20% combined.

This makes webmasters’ jobs somewhat easier because they can pretty much focus on Google exclusively when trying to optimize content for engine searches. But it doesn’t mean that the process is simple, particularly if you know that Google changes its algorithm at least a few hundred times a year.

It’s a mind-boggling figure which proves that only agile SEO explorers can identify cutting-edge updates and outperform their closest industry rivals. If you want to become one of those webmasters, keep reading as we are about to show you:

  • The basics of Google’s 2020 search engine algorithm changes
  • How does it function
  • How to approach it in 2020

The Basics of Google’s Core Updates

Back in August 2019, Google announced the introduction of so-called core updates that would change the search engine algorithm in 2020. According to Google itself, these updates will deteriorate the ranking of some pages and help others climb up the ranking ladder.

This is how they put it: “There’s nothing wrong with pages that may perform less well in a core update.  There’s nothing in a core update that targets specific pages or sites. Instead, the changes are about improving how our systems assess content overall.”

What does it mean in practice? The simplest way to put it is that Google now focuses on content quality, rather than any other ranking factor. Of course, there are many other SEO components to think about here, but we will spend most of the time explaining the issue of content quality. Let’s take a look!

How to Approach Google’s Ranking Algorithm

As we already mentioned, our goal is to discuss the major ranking components one by one. There are five main features to point out here, so let’s give them a look

1. Content quality

The first and by far the most important feature is not a huge novelty, but rather a small improvement. However, it makes a big impact on search engine ranking and deserves to be explained thoroughly here.

Of course, we are speaking about content quality, an element that has turned into the most important factor in Google’s latest algorithm changes. The idea is to promote high-quality pages that add value to user experience and help readers to find solutions to everyday problems. If you want to know whether your content deserves a high ranking in Google searches, the platform suggests asking four types of questions.

According to Google, the first group consists of the content and quality questions:

  • Does the content provide original information, reporting, research or analysis?
  • Does the content provide a substantial, complete or comprehensive description of the topic?
  • Does the content provide insightful analysis or interesting information that is beyond obvious?
  • If the content draws on other sources, does it avoid simply copying or rewriting those sources and instead provide substantial additional value and originality?
  • Does the headline and/or page title provide a descriptive, helpful summary of the content?
  • Does the headline and/or page title avoid being exaggerating or shocking in nature?

Google’s main idea is obviously to promote highly informative content and to deteriorate pages that rely on shocking or mind-boggling headlines, but fail to deliver the corresponding content. The second group of questions focuses on expertise:

  • Does the content present information in a way that makes you want to trust it, such as clear sourcing, evidence of the expertise involved, background about the author?
  • If you researched the site producing
    the content, would you come away with the impression that it is well-trusted or
    widely-recognized as an authority on its topic?
  • Is this content written by an expert or enthusiast who demonstrably knows the topic well?
  • Is the content free from easily-verified factual errors?

You should also ask yourself a few questions about the content presentation:

  • Is the content free from spelling or stylistic issues?
  • Was the content produced well, or does it appear sloppy or hastily produced?
  • Does the content have an excessive amount of ads that distract from or interfere with the main content?

As a webmaster, you should try to be objective and answer all of these questions as accurately as possible. This approach will help you to identify the cons of your content and also to find solutions to improve your posts in a way that perfectly corresponds to Google’s search algorithm.

2. Backlinks

The second search ranking factor Google is focusing on in 2020 comes in the form of backlinks. Namely, links that guide users from other sites to your pages prove that the content is worth checking out.

Jake Gardner, a digital marketera at dissertation writing services, explains that Google once again concentrates on quality:

“You cannot just accumulate tons of backlinks and expect to see a huge spike in ranking. On the contrary, you have to earn the trust of high-authority websites and convince them to quote or share your content.”

3. Webpage load speed

The year is 2020 and Google does not tolerate slow websites. A typical user wants a page to load in up to three seconds and you have to indulge the audience by speeding up your site.

A simple way to do it is to use Page Speed Insights. This is Google’s native platform that helps webmasters to analyze page load speed and discover features that can be improved to make their sites faster.

4. Mobile-friendliness

Similar to the previous factor, mobile-friendliness is yet another SEO demand Google expects you to fulfill in 2020 and beyond. A report shows there are over 3.5 billion smartphone users in the world today, which means that the majority of online traffic comes from mobile devices.

Once again, you can use Google’s platform to optimize the website for mobile experiences. We are talking about the Mobile-Friendly Test, a simple tool that you should utilize to check site performance and make it fully functional according to Google’s core updates in 2020.

5. Website security

The last SEO feature on our list is not a new one, but Google still considers it to be one of the most important factors when determining webpage ranking. In the world where dozens of malware attacks take place every second, it is necessary to prove your cybersecurity efforts. All it takes is to obtain an SSL certificate, also known as the S part of the HTTPS website prefix.

The Bottom Line

As the largest and most complex search engine in the world, Google continuously works on algorithm improvements to ensure simpler and more comfortable user experience. While it helps digital nomads to enjoy better experiences online, it interferes with content creators who get used to the same SEO principles over time.

In this post, we discussed the basics of Google’s search engine algorithm and showed you how to deal with it in 2020. Do your best to remember our tips and feel free to write a comment if you have any questions – we would be glad to help you out!

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@jamesmurpyJames Murphy

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James Murphy is a tech guru and a blogger from New York. James mostly writes about new technologies.

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