Google Algorithm updates may sound like a major yawn, but there is a reason they were ranked the biggest SEO trend of 2021, so marketers listen up!
Google announced a plethora of updates in 2021, and whilst it may have been hard to keep up with all the new features and changes that have taken place, getting up-to-date with them is integral for your SEO success in 2022. So pens at the ready, let's take a look at the futuristic and slightly scary stuff you can now do with Google search.
Multitask Unified Model (MUM)
Cutely abbreviated to MUM technology, this updated AI-powered software is all about making the Google search algorithm more inclusive and accurate, improving the user experience. Google launched this algorithm update back in June 2021, but new features are being continually added. So what do we know so far?
1. Improved Understanding
No hablo ingles? No worries! MUM technology will allow Google to overcome language and format barriers by understanding and translating 75 languages and various multimedia files.
2. Visual Search
Picture this; you're standing in the queue at a coffee shop. The person in front of you is wearing an awesome shirt with an unusual pattern on it. You need a shirt like it but don't want to make a whole cringy scene asking a stranger where they got it. You spend the rest of the day wondering how things could have been different if you had just plucked up the courage to ask—never been in this scenario? Me neither, but apparently, the programmers at Google have, and they've found a solution.
You will soon be able to search visually and ask questions about what you see. Using the above example as an explanation, with the new Google Lens icon on Google search, you'll be able to take a covert picture of their shirt on your phone and ask Google where to find a shirt, socks or any other piece of clothing with the same pattern. Phew, crisis averted, and you get to dress head-to-toe in that wild print.
3. Search Page Refresh
With the new and improved Google search page, you can get lost for hours, all thanks to the 'Things to Know' feature. This feature is intended to make Google more intuitive by apprehending your next search and connecting you with web content you may have been looking for on the current search. Essentially, the latest Google algorithm has learnt your next move before you know it yourself. They have also added features to be able to zoom in and out of search results to help you explore further ideas on the topic.
4. Google becomes Pinterest
In a genius move, Google has created a visual results page very similar to Gen Z phenomenon Pinterest. You'll now be able to find everything from Halloween decoration inspiration to dogs first birthday cake ideas in rich, visual streams accompanied by articles and videos that renders pinning it redundant.
5. Video Money Shots
The search engine already uses AI to weasel out the key moments in videos, but as it's Google we're talking about, of course, it couldn't stop there. They are in the process of introducing a new experience where searchers will now see content related to their video search as well. This feature has been created to connect users with more content and enable greater learning. Any thoughts it may just be to keep you on Google for longer visiting more websites?
6. Quick Online Shopping
The world of eCommerce has blossomed, and Google has positioned itself front and centre. In fact, customers are shopping over Google more than a billion times a day. Now with the Google algorithm updates, you can type in 'red jacket', and a personalised visual search result will provide endless possibilities of red jackets. This new experience is powered by Google Shopping Graph, which updates real-time product lists and inventories across billions of listings.
7. Do They Have What I Need?
It's pretty commonplace for us to try to check whether a particular store has what we want in stock before traipsing all the way down there, especially if it's a long-distance away. In the past, we would have called up Pets at Home to see if they have a rabbit hutch over the phone with an actual human, but that was so 2012. Now all you have to do is Google search ‘rabbit hutch' and check the filter 'in stock', and Google will tell you what stores nearby have what you're looking for.
I'm not sure about many of these Google updates, but this one seems quite helpful, and the thinking behind the idea is to support small businesses that may have been overlooked in favour of larger stores with more pulling power.
1. Core Web Vitals
This update is intended to give Google more robust criteria for ranking pages based on their user experience. It is going to look heavily at individual pages loading times, the responsiveness of their interactive elements (links, buttons, etc.) and their visual stability. This feature has already been rolled out, but Google will undoubtedly be tinkering behind the scenes refining the process.
Sound complicated? Here are some tools to help measure and monitor core web vitals.
2. Mobile Usability
With the rise of online shopping via mobile devices, web pages must now have no mobile usability errors.
You can test to see if your website is mobile-friendly here.
If a web page isn't serving over an HTTPS, it will no longer be eligible for a good page experience status.
If you need to check your site's connection is secure, you can do so here.
If one page on your site flags a security issue, all pages linked to that site will no longer have a good status and users will be warned before joining.
Link Spam Update
No one likes being linked to spam when they read an article, so to be honest, this is a good update! SEO professionals and marketers are now encouraged to follow Google's best practices for ingoing and outgoing links. As an incentive, Google has started to reward higher quality content with better rankings. At the same time, the latest Google algorithm changes will now pick up low-quality content, causing it to fall to an untimely death.