Google Algorithm Update – January 2020

Google algorithms are complex systems which retrieve data from its search index and instantly delivers the best search results for a query. The search engine uses a series of algorithms and tracking signals to deliver webpages on its search engine results pages (SERP). 

In basic terms, Google ranking systems are designed to sift through billions of webpages to find the most relevant results and present them to suit what you’re looking for. 

To give users the most useful information, search algorithms account for different factors such as the search words of a query, the relevance and usability of pages, expertise of sources and your location/settings. Each factor is weighted differently depending on the nature of your query. For example, if you searched the most current news topics, the freshness of content would be prioritised in answering your search query, rather than dictionary definitions for example. 

In its early years, Google only made a few algorithm updates. Nowadays, Google makes thousands of updates every year. Many of these changes are minor and often go unnoticed. However, Google will occasionally roll out major algorithm updates that make drastic changes to SERPs and cause webmasters to panic. Below is the latest update to the Google platform and what changes were made, hopefully this will help any SEO’ers out there!

January 13, 2020 – Featured Snippet Update

Google has announced a new algorithm update that will restrict URLs displayed on the featured snippet to appear again within the first ten search results. Danny Sullivan, Google Search liaison, confirmed on Twitter that a webpage which gets featured in the snippet position (Position Zero) will not show up again in the SERP listing. 

The new change to the Google algorithm ensures that the search engine result page is not overly cluttered and enhances the relevancy of online information to users. The update has been rolled out 100% and is effective on a global scale.