It’s been just over 10 years since Google become a public company. No, this article is not investment advice about how much money you would have made if you had invested in Google ten years ago… (which would be a LOT). This article is just about Google, the actual Internet search engine.
If you read this blog frequently, or if you just do business with MGR, you already know that Google is constantly changing its search algorithm. In the past, Google has admitted that they make changes every day (sometimes multiple changes). However, it just seems like nowadays, Google is making algorithm updates all the time!
But don’t take my word for it. Amit Singhal, who runs search at Google, went to Google+ to talk about how the search engine has progressed over the past ten years. Among other accomplishments, or “biggest milestones” in his own words, are: Autocomplete, Translations, Directions and Traffic, Universal Search, Mobile and New Screens, Voice Search, Actions, The Knowledge Graph, “Info just for you,” and “answers before you ask.”
Whether everyone liked or welcomed each of those milestones is up for discussion. I would say that the majority of them are overall a good improvement to Google search functions. If you judge by the industry reaction, I would say that Knowledge Graph is probably the most controversial of the latest additions. Primarily because it takes “clicks” and traffic away from the very same websites that are working so hard to optimize their own content to satisfy Google’s algorithm requirements. Some irony there…
In 2024, the Google of 2014 will seem ancient, and the Google of 2004 prehistoric.
If you’re wondering how many actual updates or improvements to search Google made last year, Singhal said that the answer would be more than 890. “The heart of Google is still search,” he said. “And in the decade since our IPO, Google has made big bets on a range of hugely important areas in search that make today’s Google so much better than the 2004 version (see our homepage from back then below). Larry (Page, Google Co-Founder) has described the perfect search engine as understanding exactly what you mean and giving you back exactly what you want. We’ve made a lot of progress on delivering you the right answers, faster. But we know that we have a long way to go — it’s just the beginning.”
“We made more than 890 improvements to Google Search last year alone, and we’re cranking away at new features and the next generation of big bets all the time,” he wrote. “We’ve come a long way in 10 years — on Google and so many other general and specialized search apps, it’s now so much better than just the 10 blue links of years past. In 2024, the Google of 2014 will seem ancient, and the Google of 2004 prehistoric.”
All that said, the reality is that the pace at which Google is changing its functionality and search algorithm these days is increasing exponentially. It makes you wonder if it’s even worth it to try to keep up with their pace or to find alternative options to the “Google Game.” If you look at the progression in Google changes, it has grown from around 400 in 2009, to around 550 in 2010 to just under 900 last year. We’re approaching the “3 search changes” per day-average, and who knows, we may be already there in 2014.
But the main issue that I have with Google is their lack of communication or transparency when it comes to letting people know what is new and what they are changing. Granted, nobody expects them to reveal how their algorithms work but by the same token, when they’ve promoted a certain type of search optimization in the past, and they decide to do away with it later, most SEO programmers would like to be aware of it or at least get some type of notification. Back in the days, they used to publish a list of search updates that webmasters could go by. Not anymore. Maybe they got bored reading everyone’s feedback. Or maybe, that list worked when they were making 300 updates per year and now with so many updates is just unmanageable.
Rather than a proper list, Google simply reveals only some of the specific updates here and there leaving the rest of the communications to just some general search engine guidelines. The rest is up to the SEO community and bloggers to figure out or pick up from “insider” information.
When it comes to search engine optimization, our philosophy at MGR has not changed.
- Don’t try to trick Google
- Create unique and fresh content on a regular basis
- Establish your site authority.
- Remember the E-A-T. acronym. Google wants your website to show Expertise, Authority and Trustworthiness.
- Don’t overdo your keywords and especially, don’t just add keywords to every title, description, paragraph, etc. in a way that reads and sounds unnatural
- Make sure your design is clean, responsive and without any annoying pop-ups or ads all over the place
In other words, if you just focus on enhancing your visitors’ experience, Google’s results will take care of themselves. In fact, you will reach a point in which you will NOT need to rely on Google so much to grow your traffic.
If you have any questions or simply want our MGR Team to take a look and analyze your website, you can contact us anytime.
Until next time, this is Manuel Gil del Real (MGR)