2019 was a big year for Google Algorithm changes. From BERT to E-A-T, and everything in-between, here’s a timeline of the biggest changes from Google.
October 25, 2019 – Google announced they have made some changes to how they understand queries, mostly in the purview of voice search and terms with many meanings. BERT is now an integrated part of their algorithms
September 24-26, 2019 – Google announced on the 25th that a core update will start rolling out on this day. Danny Sullivan of Google advised that marketers and webmasters read Google’s blog post on core updates written over a month prior.
September 12-13, 2019 – Minor core updates, likely having to do with Google’s assessment of trust (of E-A-T). These dates also appear to have a backlink component/link graph update in them.
July 16-18, 2019 – 2019’s biggest update began on July 16th with moderate levels of rank fluctuations being recorded. Those levels jumped slightly on the 17th before reaching an unusual extreme high on July 18th. There was so much turbulence on July 17, it got named “Maverick” after a tanker sinking and the announced release date of Top Gun: Maverick. Google here is making tweaks to how they measure trust (of EAT). Some niches were hit more than others. For example, Google made significant changes to their algorithm to make it so that adult search terms were less likely to surface porn/adult-related sites when searching for some queries that could be construed as either adult or non-adult in nature.
June 18 & 26-27, 2019 – Google made some noticeable tweaks to their June 3rd update. This wasn’t a major update but did have traffic hiccups from many search performance reports mentioned in webmaster forums.
June 4-6, 2019 – Release of the Diversity update. This update is designed to make it so that one website will rarely have more than two listings on the first page of organic results. Big players, like Amazon, were more likely harmed by this than smaller ones. This also didn’t appear to impact position zero to any noticeable extent.
June 3, 2019 – Announcement made of a Core Quality Update. This update was preannounced. Google revised how they value brand authority (A of EAT) in this update. Changes with how the Google algorithm values exact match anchor text in relation to backlinks was likely tweaked.
May 23-26, 2019 – This update was unannounced. Around the time of Memorial Day weekend, a major indexing bug was reportedly fixed. It is likely that with this came a link graph refresh.
April 27, 2019 –There may have been alterations to how Google assesses link quality signals. Some search console reporting on links and indexing were noticeably refreshed/updated around this time.
April 5-8, 2019 – Likely no update here, but Google did experience a bug that caused many sites to have a considerable quantity of webpages drop out of their index entirely. If traffic and impressions slipped at this time, this could be why.
March 12, 2019 – The year’s first large release was a Core Quality Update defined also as a “broad core algorithm update”. Upon its release into the wild, it suggested some enhancements as well as some softening to parts of the big ‘Medic’ update in the prior year. The link graph was updated around this time. Suggestions were again made to Your-money-Your-Life sites to review the Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines (QRD). Websites making content improvements (E-of-EAT) as well as not relying heavily on user-generated content by removing fluff and thin content pages saw positive changes. Ecommerce sites that improved sloppy canonicals, aggressive ad popups, and asset-rendering issues also were rewarded for their Trust factors (T-of-EAT).