If you work in SEO or your website depends on organic traffic, you might be well aware of the whirlwind of Google updates and SERP changes that have been rolled out in the last six months.
If not, here is a quick recap:
It’s the middle of the month and Google announces an update to make review rich results “more helpful” by limiting the schema types triggering review snippets and disregarding self-serving reviews, which led to a 14% drop in review snippets. Just a week later, Google rolled out the September core update.
It’s October and Google announces the release of BERT (Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers), a new machine learning algorithm. In a way similar to Rank Brain, BERT is designed to understand queries better, particularly conversational ones, impacting both normal organic listings and featured snippets.
It’s 8th November and rumours of huge SERP movements start to spread, it only seems to affect a limited number of websites but those impacted had traffic drops of up to 40-50%. Google confirmed it did release several updates in that period, but no details were given. It was later discovered that as part of those updates a local search update was released globally.
In December, a historically quiet month, there were multiple SERP tremors and the confirmation that BERT had already been released to over 70 languages.
A pre-announced core update followed in January, impacting performance and causing some very visible shifts in many industries. There was a week to recover and then in came the featured snippet update, deduplicating featured and organic results and prompting a change to visibility calculation assessments.
February 2020 (partial)
Is that all? Apparently not, as around 7th February huge SERP tremors were recorded, meaning there could be a big algorithm update coming.