Google Search Updates in 2019

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is an enduring process that requires continuous efforts. If you are not updating your site in advance, you are going to lose big.

A Google core update is when Google makes significant changes to its search engine algorithm and systems. If you are not updating your site to comply with Google’s core updates, forget about appearing in the top search results!

1. Updates to the Google Search algorithm:

In 2019, Google became more open to core updates. In addition to confirming the March core update, Google has introduced a naming convention which provides a name and a structure to avoid confusion. Additionally, from June 2019, Google started to warn SEO companies and site owners before deploying core updates. They did the same with the September core update.


Google has also made other more specific updates which includes giving more favor to what Google calls “EAT” and “YMYL sites”. EAT stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. To rank well on Google, you need to nurture your brand by building its EAT.  Google wants to be as certain that they are recommending sites that display a high level of expertise, authority, and trustworthiness. The EAT update hit many medical websites, as well as many other websites that could be categorized under what Google calls “YMYL sites”. YMYL is a quality rating for content that stands for “your money or your life” – basically any page including content that can affect someone’s health, happiness, safety, or financial stability. It’s Google’s way of protecting searchers from low-quality content that has the potential to be detrimental to a searcher. 


Google added a diversity update aimed to show more diverse results from different domain names in the search results. Searchers, along with SEOs, have complained over the years that sometimes Google shows too many listings for the top search results from the same domain name. So if you do a search for a particular query, you may see 4 or 5 of the top ten results from the same domain name. Google is looking to not show more than two results from the same domain with this search update.

2. Research results: 

This year, 50% of Google’s searches ended without any clicks to visit a website, according to data from Jumpshot and SparkToro. The decline in organic clicks was caused by search engines making it easier for us to find answers using helpful features on the results page. For example, rich results, which often eliminate the need for users to click on a result, have more than doubled in mobile search results since 2018.

While structured, useful data such as FAQs and How-To’s has the potential to increase a company’s visibility on search results, it may now be a disincentive for searchers to click. With rich results becoming more common, it has affected the way people browse, giving rise to what the Nielsen Norman group calls the “Pinball Pattern” in which a user scans a results page in a highly nonlinear path. If their study is representative of how users interact with the search results page, there is a clear incentive for brands to optimize their content, taking into account the ever-increasing number of Google search features. For example, Google has rolled out a redesign of mobile search results with black “Ad” labels for paid ads and favicons for organic results. Some members of the SEO community have pointed out that the redesign is likely to cause users to mistake Google Ads for organic results.

 3.Guidelines for Search Quality Raters: 

Google uses human contractors, placed all over the world, to evaluate its search results. Although they do not directly influence the rankings, these evaluators provide comments that help Google improve its algorithms. In 2019, the guidelines that the Quality Raters follow, were updated 3 times.


In May, the guidelines were updated with more explicit references to E-A-T (Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness), and provided guidelines on the assessment of interstitial pages and the expertise of content creators. 


The revisions of the guidelines of September 2019 put more emphasis on the control of sources. In particular, the news and the content of Your Money or Your Life (YMYL) pages. 


It was also added that spreading hatred in your content could possibility be one of the reasons why an evaluator would apply a low content rating. Google tried to encourage impartiality with its December update of the guidelines. In this update, it reminded reviewers that users come from diverse backgrounds and that reviews should not be based on “personal opinions, preferences, religious, or political beliefs”.

 4.Crawling, indexing and classification

Mobile-First now:

All sites previously unknown to Google before July 1, 2019 are now indexed using mobile-first indexing. However, older sites are still transferred to mobile first indexing when Google deems them ready.

Robots are now evergreen:

In May, Google launched the Evergreen version of its web crawler, Googlebot. This means the robot will stay up to date with the latest version of Chrome. Bingbot has also become Evergreen since Bing adopted the Chromium-based Edge browser to render pages and execute JavaScript. Although some limitations still exist, Evergreen web crawlers based on the same Chromium technology mean that more of our content can be seen by Bing and Google, with fewer instances of debugging for a particular crawler.

End of directives:

Since September 1, 2019, Google has withdrawn support for rules not published in the robot exclusion protocol, ending “Noindex” as a directive in the robots.txt file.

New link attributes:

Google has introduced rel = “sponsor” and rel = “ugc” to indicate sponsored content and user generated content respectively. In the wake of this announcement, Google also said that they would treat all link attributes, including rel = ”nofollow”, as an index for ranking purposes rather than a directive. The “index” processing and the optional nature of the new attributes have made many SEOs wait to see who would benefit from their adoption and the value of their implementation.

Farewell, rel = prev / next:

In March, we received a late confirmation from John Mueller of Google that he had ceased to support rel = prev / next, a paging tag that Google itself had launched in 2011.

H1 tags:

In October, Google revealed that multiple H1 tags on a page, or even the lack of them, doesn’t matter to him. Similar to the reaction when rel-prev / next was announced, many in the SEO community have pointed out that the application of the tag is wider than SEO and that the use of appropriate titles provides a better user experience, regardless of how Google treats them.

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