Google Search Results: Latest Implemented Changes Explained

Recently, Google’s Danny Sullivan has stepped forward to shed light on the most recent changes being implemented on the search engine.

Google has always been committed to improving search results by making constant changes – just last year alone, Google has executed more than 3,200 changes.

Unlike the way Google approaches their image search listings, they tend to do things slightly different for search results.

So, do you still remember your takeaways from our Digital Marketing Course? We’re about to give you a little more insight on how search results work – combine it with your prior knowledge for best results!

Google’s algorithmic changes

Instead of implementing manual changes to individual queries to address ranking challenges – Google’s algorithmic changes will automatically apply to an extensive range of relevant searches.

Why? Google has pointed out that ‘fixing’ one query out of the uncountable searches every year doesn’t account for variations and solve the bigger issue, i.e., improving search results entirely.

Here are the most recent changes that Google has implemented in search results:

Featured snippets

These are highlighted sections on SERP that are filled with information – content that Google deems relevant based on what consumers are searching for. The eye-catching formatting and position have been interpreted as an indication of credibility and quality – Google has strict standards when it comes to ranking content as featured snippets.

Make sure that your content contains NO violent, harmful, sexually explicit or hateful content. Ideally, the information should be backed by data and expert consensus; otherwise, Google will strike out your content and see to it that it never sees the light of day.

Organic search results

Take a look at what’s under the ‘paid ads’ section at the top – those are your organic search results. They can come in the form of links, video clips, or thumbnails showcased in a grid, such as the ones shown in Google Images.

How the ranking system works is by taking into consideration a multitude of factors to determine which page should be at the top – this is done by using Google’s own automated systems and algorithm.

The Knowledge Graph

The Knowledge Graph displays a variety of information gathered from a range of sources and presents it to users in an infobox next to the search results. Depending on the amount of data available, the graph can show facts, images, as well as other related searches.

Essentially, it is able to automatically map the relationships and attributes of users’ queries – and compiles information taken from various sources in order to best answer them. As the information might not always be accurate, Google will often manually collect user feedback and take the initiative to correct any incorrect information.

Spam protections

In order to protect users from malware, spam and deceptive sites – any content to be served on Google has to closely adhere to Google’s webmaster guidelines.

Spam protections act as a deterrent and prevent ranking systems from wrongly rewarding such content – and in incidents where Google’s spam systems are not working, other manual actions will be taken against individual sites and pages.

Predictive features

Related Searches and Autocomplete are features that are considered “predictive”.

When users enter specific characters into the search bar – the Autocomplete feature will do its job by filling up the gaps, suggesting searches which could possibly match what they are looking for in order to save time.

Legal and policy-based removals

Google’s mission is to provide users access to heaps of information but at the same time, take out pages which don’t follow the law – like copyright infringement content and child abuse imagery. Any sensitive personal information also applies in this case.

With all this in mind, it is clear that Google’s approach to algorithmic changes are as follows:

  1. Spot areas of improvement
  2. Put together a solution(s)
  3. Meticulously experiment with said solution(s)
  4. Determine if the solution(s) offers overall positive benefit
  5. Set the change(s) in motion in search results

When it comes to experimenting and testing changes to Google’s search results – it is mainly based on feedback from human experiments and evaluations obtained from highly-trained, “human search quality raters”.

Now that you have a better understanding of what the latest implemented changes are – it’s time for you and your Digital Marketing Agency to work hand in hand and put them to good use!