Search rankings can fluctuate significantly when Google’s algorithm is updated.
However, there are many people who have questions such as “What is Google’s algorithm in the first place?”, “What criteria does the ranking change?”
In this article, I will explain the knowledge about the whole Google algorithm and the SEO measures that utilize it.
Table of Contents
What is Google’s Algorithm?
Google Algorithm refers to the rules for Google’s search engine to determine the search ranking in order to correctly provide the information the user is looking for from the myriad of information overflowing on the web .
”Google always aims to provide users with useful and relevant information.”
As mentioned above, in order to deliver useful information to users, Google’s algorithm determines the search ranking based on the judgment criteria of more than 200 items, and these items and their importance are revised daily. Therefore, every time the Google algorithm is revised, the search ranking will also change.
In order to obtain a high search ranking, it is necessary to satisfy the items that are the judgment criteria of the Google algorithm . can be said.
However, there are important elements in the Google algorithm, so let’s start with the following five elements.
Five important factors related to Google’s algorithm
The number of items in the Google algorithm is said to be more than 200, and it consists of a huge number of elements, but the following five are important among them.
- Understand search intent
- Relevance between search keywords and web pages
- content quality
- Consideration of context
I will explain each of them, so let’s try to understand at least these five.
Understand search intent
Google’s algorithm first analyzes search keywords to understand the user’s search intent.
We strive to understand users’ search intentions at a higher level by using Google’s synonym system that can not only understand the meaning but also distinguish homophones.
In addition, the search keywords are analyzed with the following points in mind.
- Want specific information?
- Want more information?
- Want specific information?
- Want to know what’s new?
- Want to know more about your current location?
The most important of these is the “ latest information ”. Among Google’s algorithms, there is an algorithm for delivering fresher information called “Freshness Algorithm”.
By using this, in the case of keywords that require the latest information such as “professional baseball game results”, “red and white winner”, “new model of iPhone” , it is programmed to deliver more up-to-date information.
Relevance between search keywords and web pages
The algorithm that understands the search intent then searches the index for web pages related to that keyword, and also analyzes the frequency of occurrence of that keyword and the places where it is used in titles, headlines, and body text .
The basic part of detecting relevance to a web page is based on the matching rate and number of occurrences of keywords, but Google’s official page clearly states that simply having a large number of keywords does not make sense. was
Therefore, we analyze whether the content is what users want, such as using images and videos to explain what is the answer to the keyword, or using original survey results.
As an example, we will use the following three keywords to explain the web pages related to the search keywords.
- Keyword ①: Drum type washing machine Panasonic recommended
- Keyword ②: Drum type washing machine recommended
- Keyword ③: Washing machine Recommended
Keyword 1, “Recommended drum-type washing machine Panasonic” would be “I want to know the recommendation of Panasonic’s drum-type washing machine”, but Keyword 2, “Recommend drum-type washing machine” is not limited to Panasonic. Hmm.
In addition, keyword (3), “recommended washing machine,” does not limit whether it is a drum type or a vertical type, so the fewer the keywords, the more abstract it becomes.
These three keywords are all users who are looking for recommended washing machines, but since each keyword is looking for something different, it is necessary to create a relevant web page for each keyword.
When a user searches for a particular keyword, there may be thousands or even millions of web pages that are likely to be relevant to that question.
Google’s algorithm analyzes the content and the quality of the website that hosts it to determine which web pages have the best information for your search keywords.
The main contents of the analysis are as follows.
- Is the content up-to-date?
- How many times the search keyword appears in the content
- User experience (whether you can have a good user experience through the content)
If you get good ratings on these items, you will be more likely to appear higher in the search rankings.
On the other hand, there are also actions that are judged negatively by the algorithm.
For example, repeating a keyword over and over at random, or “paid linking”, where you pay money to receive backlinks.
These measures disguise low-quality content as if it were high-quality content, which not only has no utility value, but also has a negative impact on users.
Google imposes penalties on such malicious websites and strives to always deliver good and relevant content to users.
Google also emphasizes usability (ease of use for users) in its algorithms.
Usability mainly refers to the following contents.
- Appears correctly in different browsers
- Optimized for viewing on different devices
- Search results are displayed quickly
Google Chrome is not the only browser for viewing Google search results.
Typical examples include Internet Explorer, iPhone’s Safari, Firefox, and Microsoft Edge.
It is a condition for improving usability that the search user can display it correctly no matter what browser they use.
In addition to browsers, users search on various devices (terminals) such as smartphones, personal computers, and tablets.
At that time, if the display is difficult to see on a computer, or it is not compatible with smartphones, etc., and it is difficult to use, the user’s convenience will be low and the evaluation from Google will also decrease.
In addition, even if the internet environment is not bad, it can be frustrating when it takes a long time to load a web page. In such cases, it is necessary to devise ways to allow users to quickly check search results.
The above usability algorithm may be changed or added irregularly.
In most cases, there is an announcement from Google in advance, so it is recommended that you make improvements yourself as soon as the information comes in.
For example, when website display speed became important due to a change in the Google algorithm, six months before the change was implemented, an announcement was made stating, “From now on, we will also focus on display speed.” rice field.
Usability is expected to continue to change with changes in values, so be sure to check the information frequently so that you can respond flexibly to sudden changes in the Google algorithm.
Consideration of context
Google adjusts the webpages displayed by users even if they search for the same keywords. Based on the user’s current location and past search history, it judges and displays necessary information for that person at that time.
For example, the English word “football” means “American football” in the United States and “soccer” in the United Kingdom.
Therefore, if a person in the United States searches for “football”, information on American football and popular American football teams will be displayed, and if a person in the United Kingdom searches for “football”, information on popular Premier League and soccer teams will be displayed. display.
Also, searching for the keyword “events near me” will show events that may be a good fit for the user, based on the user’s search history.
On the other hand, if you want to search without considering the user’s current location or search history, you can change the settings of the search function to display search results that are not affected by unnecessary information.
Four Major Updates to the Google Algorithm
As stated on its official page, “Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it convenient for everyone,” Google is evolving day by day to create an environment that is easy for users to use. I’m here.
The “evolution” is the update of the algorithm .
When the update is done, the criteria for determining the search ranking are updated, so the order of the displayed pages will change.
Those with large fluctuations are called core updates. Here are four major updates from the past.
The Panda Update is a content quality update in 2011.
It was a crackdown on content that was copied and pasted from other web pages and had only minor details such as the endings of words modified, or content that contained only a large number of keywords that destroyed the meaning of the sentence and had no value for users.
Articles that combine words from multiple websites, even if they are not exact copies, will also be penalized for “lack of originality.”
Conversely, websites rated as adding value by summarizing the information sought by users with original content will increase in search rankings.
The Penguin Update is an update related to links that has been divided into several times since 2012.
Until then, websites that received a large number of backlinks were recognized as “high-quality websites worthy of introduction”, and their search rankings increased even if they were not accompanied by content.
Therefore, with this penguin update, it came to crack down on self-made backlinks and paying money to receive links illegally.
Self-made backlinks are created by creating a sub-website with the same keyword separately from the main website, and using a robot to create a large number of articles that put the keyword into the sub-website, It is the act of linking to the website of
As a result, the main website was pulled up to the sub-website and ranked higher in the search rankings.
It’s a technique that was used a lot in the past, but as mentioned above, it’s now penalized if you do it.
In addition, if you include hidden links or hidden text that are invisible (hard to see) to users, you will also be subject to penalties.
mobile friendly update
This is an update about smartphone support in 2015 and 2016. As more and more people search on smartphones than on PCs, websites that are not compatible with smartphones are becoming less likely to be displayed at the top.
These days, most websites are compatible with smartphones, but at the time, many of them were displayed in the same way on both PCs and smartphones. There were many spec sites.
Google also shared a check tool that can check whether it is easy to use on mobile devices and whether the font size and page display speed are appropriate, and worked to improve it.
Also known as the “Healthcare Update,” which took place in 2017, it was implemented only in Japan. Until then, no matter who created the web page, it would be appreciated as long as the content was good.
However, information related to health, beauty, and medical care should be introduced by experts with specialized knowledge, so unsubstantiated information and content that lacks credibility such as who wrote it is no longer ranked high in the search results. is.
Also, at this time, not only health, but also information about money and assets called YMYL (Your Money Your Life), child-rearing, law, etc., written by ordinary people also became difficult to rank high in the search results.
Certainly, illness and money are matters that affect your life, so it’s a little scary to refer to information that you don’t even know who wrote it.
Effective SEO against Google’s algorithm
There are three SEO measures for the Google algorithm:
- Create content that meets search needs
- Enhanced EAT
- Mobile friendly
The above three are also described in Google’s guidelines, and they are effective and easy to implement as SEO measures that you can do yourself, so be sure to keep them in mind.
Create content that meets search needs
For search keywords, it is important to create content that satisfies their needs and satisfies users.
To meet your users’ search needs, consider the following:
Since it is common to summarize one search intent on one web page, it is necessary to use internal links to summarize content that deviates from the content of the keyword and the content beyond that in an easy-to-read manner.
For example, if you introduce 30 products on a page that introduces recommended washing machines, if you summarize the details and reviews of each product in one article, it will include introductions of products that users are not interested in. As a result, it will be difficult to find the product you really want.
Therefore, by creating a separate article for product details and directing those who want to know more to an internal link, it will be easier for users to find the information they want to know.
Site display speed
When users find a title they are interested in from the search results and access it, if it takes several seconds or tens of seconds for the page to open, the user will feel stress and leave.
In order to let users browse the page without waiting, let’s check if the display speed of the site is slow.
Page Speed Check: PageSpeed Insights
The above is a page speed measurement system provided by Google, and it will give you a score evaluation and suggestions for improvement just by using it.
A score of 90 or higher is good, but it may be less than 90 if the image size on the page is too large.
As a remedy, it is recommended to change the loading method using an image extension called WebP.
If you are a WordPress user, you can easily do it by adding a plugin and .htaccess.
Use of images, videos, etc.
Since many users are not good at reading long sentences, methods using information other than text are also effective.
Below the Google search window, there is a menu of categories “images”, “videos”, “shopping” and “maps”.
The menu in this category will appear on the left for the most frequently viewed items, telling you what kind of information users are looking for with that search term.
This mechanism is called “vertical search”.
If “images” and “videos” are placed on the left side of the vertical search, it can be judged that content that explains not only text but also images and videos is required because the priority of countermeasures is high.
In this way, it is also important to create content that contains the information users are looking for, rather than sticking to only sentences.
EAT is an acronym for “Expertise,” “Authoritativeness,” and “Trustworthiness.”
Google’s algorithm has come to give importance to this EAT.
This is because it is important to have experts and authority in the field to ensure the accuracy of the information delivered to users.
Let’s talk specifically about EAT.
The EAT is especially important when it comes to medical, health, legal, and financial matters.
In order to increase the EAT of content in each genre, we recommend asking the following experts and institutions to write and supervise.
- Medical and health-related matters: Doctors, hospitals, etc.
- Law and case matters: Lawyers, law firms, etc.
- Things related to money: FP, insurance companies, etc.
In this way, it is possible to deliver more accurate information by involving experts and institutions in the field.
Also, from the perspective of authoritativeness, if the information comes from a source that everyone knows, such as the government of the country or local government, or an educational institution such as a university, it is highly reliable, so users can trust it with confidence. They will do it for you.
In order to strengthen this EAT, it is mainly important to set up backlinks.
It is fine if the editor or writer is an authoritative person listed in a database managed by the government, or a celebrity that many people know (movie director, cartoonist, president of a large company, etc.) But if not, it’s a good idea to strengthen it by getting backlinks from people with EAT.
For example, even if a doctor is appointed as a supervisor, the sentence alone does not convey whether that person is really the supervisor.
By getting links from the doctor’s hospital, etc., Google can recognize that the content is trusted by an authoritative person or institution.
In this way, get backlinks from experts and institutions to strengthen your EAT and create content that your users can trust.
With the spread of smartphones, the devices used for searching are also shifting from personal computers to smartphones.
SISTRIX, a German company that provides SEO tools, has released a survey result that about 75% of people in Japan use the Internet search function from mobile phones.
As you can see from this survey, the number of mobile users is increasing, so Google’s algorithm also added the item “mobile friendly” to measure whether the content is suitable for mobiles.
Mobile friendly can also be confirmed in Google Search Console, and is judged by the following three items.
- Is the text too small?
- Are clickable elements too close together?
- Is the width of the content wider than the screen?
In both cases, it can be seen that there are concerns that it is difficult to read, difficult to click, and invisible when operating on a smartphone.
Determining whether the above content is clear is “mobile friendly”, and it can be said that it is a necessary SEO measure for smartphone users.
Points to keep in mind with Google algorithm changes
So far, I’ve introduced the meaning of Google’s algorithm and what the actual update is.
However, some people may not know what to do when the algorithm actually changes.
There are at least three points to remember:
- Core updates are notified in advance
- A drop in search rankings is not necessarily a problem
- Increasing focus on content
Core updates are notified in advance
Regarding updates that are expected to have a large ranking change, such as core updates, Google will notify you in advance.
The main notification method is Google’s official Twitter .
Google will use Twitter’s post function to introduce an overview of the update, and will announce the details and timing of the update in the form of a blog attached to the post. Be sure to follow our Twitter account to keep up to date with Google’s movements.
However, Google’s announcements are often made just before, and there is a risk that it will be too late to start moving after seeing the announcement, or that the quality of the content will be degraded due to halfway responses.
Considering that Google’s algorithm is user-first and changes day by day, it is important to always take measures for core updates.
A drop in search rankings is not necessarily a problem
When there is an update to the Google algorithm, you may feel depressed if your search ranking drops significantly, or you may feel impatient that you have to fix something urgently.
However, a low search ranking does not necessarily mean that your website is at fault.
In many cases, this is due to websites that have not been rated until now, or other sites that have been underrated, but have received a fair rating due to algorithm fluctuations.
So, if your search rankings have dropped after the Google algorithm update, let’s wait and see what’s going on instead of fixing your content right away.
Even if the search ranking drops immediately after the update, the core update will take about 1-2 weeks, so the ranking may return when things settle down.
Also, it is dangerous to take measures before the full picture of the update is visible. It doesn’t make sense if you make unnecessary corrections and your search ranking drops further.
Use Google Search Console, etc., to calmly research the update information and try to find out the cause.
Increasing focus on content
As a recent trend of Google, the tendency to emphasize content is increasing.
Until now, no matter how good the content was, if the domain power was low, it would be difficult to rank high in search results.
However, with the recent evolution of Google’s algorithm, the technology to distinguish good content from bad content has developed, and Google is able to evaluate websites that emphasize “usability (user convenience)”. It has become.
In other words, as long as you can create better content than your competitors, you can easily aim for the top search results.
In order to create quality content, it is important to always consider the user’s convenience and refer to Google’s guidelines.
Be careful not to interfere with the operation of Google’s algorithms
Google uses a robot called Googlebot to collect information about your website.
In doing so, it’s important that Googlebot and searchers alike can see your webpage.
If Googlebot and search users see different things, and Google’s behavior is hindered, search rankings may not be optimized.
The following five actions are considered to have a negative impact on Google’s behavior and search rankings.
- Web server unable to handle a certain number of crawl requests
See the Google Starter Guide for details, so check to see if your website is interfering with the operation of Google’s algorithm.
This time, we introduced the important elements that make up Google’s algorithm and the updates that were actually made in the past. It can be said that it is important to have a deep understanding of Google’s algorithm when creating content on the web .
However, Google’s algorithm is constantly changing and updates are irregular.
Still, what Google wants is usability of content.
Let’s continue to create content that can lead to problem-solving without giving stress, always from the user’s point of view, so that the algorithm may be updated at any time.