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Google Search Algorithm guide in 2023 for beginners in SEO

March 31, 2023

The internet is a handy tool for many industries, and its most used feature is its database. Millions of users worldwide contribute to the internet’s ever-expanding content, making it increasingly complex and confusing to explore. The Google search algorithm makes navigating this figurative sea of information easier, making it one of the most useful inventions in the modern age. 

While the Google search engine algorithm is complex, knowing its core concept gives you a leg up in marketing. Learn about the latest Google algorithm in this comprehensive guide from QWERTYLABS. It comes with basic tutorials to give you a leg up in startup. 

What is Google Algorithm?

The algorithm is the machine learning technology behind Google’s search engine. It organises all the information stored on the internet by scanning the page and indexing its content for reference. Google scores each of them on readability, relevance, and accuracy by cross-referencing it with similar content. The page is built using programming languages like C++, Java, and Python. 

The scores are the metric used when search queries are made using Google’s search engine. Whatever keyword, phrase, or sentence you input is scanned per word and its collective meaning. It will then look up its indexed data and see all information relevant to your query. Google Algorithm will then rank each by score and present them on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) in order from most to least relevant. 

How does the Google Algorithm work?

The Google Algorithm explained on the fundamental level is much more complex than the big picture. It is an extensive collection of interacting elements serving the common goal of delivering the best content to answer the user’s question. The first step is that it breaks down every word written on a webpage into keywords; the same is done for your web query. Google then tries to comprehend the user intent behind the query to deliver the most accurate answer from the entire internet. 

Keywords can take many forms, from individual words to phrases to full sentences. It is then given context based on the words surrounding it or the full paragraph that it is a part of. The Google Algorithm is crawling across the world wide web (www) and indexing these pieces of information. 

People with a basic understanding of Google’s algorithm make the mistake of using popular keywords repeatedly in hopes of scoring higher. Fortunately, a safety feature in their search engine called the spamming algorithm stops this. It prioritises the quality of the content more than the frequency of relevant keywords in any Google search. Therefore, the best way to attract visitors to your website is to create genuinely high-quality content. 

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Why is the Google Algorithm so important?

Asking ‘how does Google search algorithm work?’ can lead to quick answers to questions like ‘what can it do for me or my business?’. No coding is related to how you can use such a complex tool. Even the most casual users who only know how to operate a social media page can use its functions for personal growth and profit. 

Google’s algorithm is vital to all users of the internet. The way it tracks information quality and ranking them makes SERP features invaluable today. It opens a marketing opportunity for all kinds of businesses, like online casinos, improving the performance of your website by attracting web traffic. Gamblers will use the internet to look for various information on online casinos or bookmaker services, and you can get their attention by scoring high in the SERP. 

Gamblers occasionally use Google to look for the best bonuses, updates on new games, or even tips on the best betting strategies. Likewise, a sports bettor would be following sports-related news and blogs. You can attract these types of Google queries and bring high web traffic to your online casino. 

Learn Google Algorithm to understand better how to use it to benefit your business. One trick you can use is building backlinks on various websites. The more times your brand is mentioned, the higher its authority becomes in all search results revolving around online gambling. 

Google Algorithm updates

It’s hard to believe that Google hasn’t always been how you know it today, but it has undergone plenty of changes since its launch in 1998. Changes were slow and subtle until you stop and try to remember how the website initially looked like when you first used it. If you delve deeper into how indexing works, the Google Algorithm definition changes ever so slightly. 

Updates were infrequent and only included minor changes to polish the system until November 2003, when the Florida Update went live. It includes the addition of a filter mechanism, forever changing how Google ranks website positions. The previous version was rudimentary and had a loophole or two that made searching for accurate information, but the change made it useful and reliable to this day. 

Almost a decade later, an update in 2011 was introduced with the Panda Update, the beginning of the website’s efforts to prioritise the quality of content. Google Algorithm ranking explained that unreliable information or poor practice in grammar and spelling lessen a web page’s authority. Even if the content is of optimal quality, reposting it or duplicating it on different websites only leads to it scoring much lower. 

Updates became more frequent after the Panda Update because the Google Algorithm implemented the Penguin Update in 2012. It started penalising websites that abused the link-building strategy of spamming links on various sources. Hyperlinks are now scored based on how well they fit the context of their placement and how the webpage supports where it backlinks from. 

The Google Algorithm struggled to understand user intent until the 2015 RankBrain update. This gives the website its crawling capabilities using cookies to curate your next web search. Google’s last fundamental update arrived in 2018, dubbed ‘Medic’, which serves one purpose only: to provide quick medical answers to health-related queries. The company considers such information a dire need, hence prioritising the most relevant result it has indexed. 

Google still updates its algorithm today, but none are considered milestone changes like the aforementioned examples. Most of which are meant to improve upon already existing features. Monitoring these changes is still important because you never know when the next major update will come. 

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What are Google Algorithm updates

There is no perfection in any kind of system; the same goes for Google’s search algorithm. Years of trials and tribulations reveal plenty of issues in the SERP and how it ranks search results. To this day, Google still keeps improving its search engine based on its users, and changes are much more frequent now with millions of clients. 

The range of an update can be anywhere between minor to critical. All of them are necessary because they ultimately change the core of the search algorithm for the better. After all, it’s a service used by millions of people in the information age. Google also needed to occasionally update the algorithm to help it scale with the world's increasing population. 

Any pieces of information like Google’s algorithm or even the internet’s mainframe are built to support a certain capacity, but the number of users can increase at any time. Thus, the company administering it is responsible for keeping up its performance as best as possible. The ever-expanding nature of the internet makes perfection impossible, so every update is an improvement.

Updates are critical in making the Google Algorithm as reliable as possible, but this makes search engine optimisation (SEO) strategies inconsistent. Some only tackle the fundamentals of online marketing, allowing them to be versatile enough to be relevant for all kinds of changes in the algorithm. However, some SEO strategies need to be adjusted to go along with said improvements. That’s why Google needs to be transparent with its updates by detailing as many changes made on patch notes as possible. 

Google Algorithm update history

Each update on the Google Algorithm significantly impacted how users explore the internet. Every change focuses on different aspects of SERP, but all of it is in the service of making web content easier to navigate. Thus, Google needed a way to inform webmasters and SEO professionals like QWERTYLABS about the updates and changes made to the search engine. 

Most pieces of information can be found in the Google Algorithm Update History. It also helps webmasters and SEO professionals decide how to adjust their marketing strategies to maintain internet traffic. 

Using the information provided by the Google Algorithm Update History, webmasters and SEO professionals can have better insights into adjusting their strategies accordingly. This is aided by having the ability to track their website and backlink performances using Google Analytics. 

The Update History also helps newcomers to its systems get oriented with the basics of SERP. They just need to review the timeline of fundamental changes and what they mean for the search engine to formulate a strong SEO strategy.

Major Google Algorithm updates

Google has improved significantly through updates, but they are still going through changes to combat consistent issues. Its changes range from missable to critical, but only a few are considered significant enough to be called major updates in the grand scheme of the internet. 

Some of them combat spamdexing and duplicate content, while others introduce mobile-friendliness, machine learning and natural language processing. All of these additions are valuable to webmasters and SEO professionals alike.

2011 - Google Panda 

The Google Panda Update introduced the search engine algorithm’s capability of scoring content quality. This update encouraged users to contribute only high-quality content on the internet if their goal is to receive high traffic. This single-handedly removed all bot-generated web pages whose goal was to spam keywords or duplicate content in hopes of dominating the SERP. 

2012 - Google Penguin

The Google Penguin Update targeted websites that abused link spamming on various contents. It is also generally a bot-related problem that plagued the search engine before the update. Now, it encourages more ethical SEO strategies. 

2013  - Google Hummingbird

The search engine was still just a simple filter with the Penguin update until the Google Hummingbird Update in 2013 made understanding queries more complex. It aims to find the most relevant answer to user queries by comprehending the user’s intent and evaluating web pages. Some factors that help a webpage score high in a query are knowing the author, ranking the website’s authority, and scanning for direct answers to quotes. 

2015 - Google Mobilegeddon

Smartphones have been around for a while since the first iPhone arrived on the market in 2007. Thus, many websites have been optimised for smaller screens with portrait orientation. The Google Mobilegeddon Update rewards those websites for all search queries made on a smartphone while penalising those that are not. This reward and penalty scheme only gives mobile users a better quality of life. It does not affect a website’s performance on desktop searches.

2015 - Google RankBrain

Google RankBrain Update built machine learning on the Hummingbird Update as a foundation. It tries to better understand the user’s intention by word association with the keywords used on queries. RankBrain’s mathematical formula works best the longer the search query is because it finds the mutual connections between all keywords used to find relevant pages. It also tries to use your past searches and use as a factor in sorting the SERP.

2018 - Google Medic

The Google Medic Update in 2018 is a quality-of-life improvement for health-related queries. It prioritises the most relevant piece of information by scoring pages’ expertise, authority, and trustworthiness (E-A-T). Having a high E-A-T means that various sources fact-check the web content, and the author is verified to be an expert in the subject. 

Thus, it is the best page to give the user at the time they make their query. This standard is applied to every page, and new ones are occasionally identified as better answers to the same Google search. Thus, it ensures that the user is given newer and most useful information if there is a scientific breakthrough in medicine.

2019 - Google BERT

Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers (BERT) is one of the most complex updates to arrive in Google. It was officially launched in 2019, aiding RankBrain’s machine-learning system to improve natural language processing. Thus, Google BERT is better at understanding the context behind search queries without relying on past queries. Eliminating the need to use old searches made BERT faster than RankBrain in ranking SERP.

2018 to present - Google Core Updates

Google habitually implemented names on minor and major updates when focused on providing what the algorithm needed. Now, they are more focused on a consistent schedule for essential changes. This is what the Google Core Updates are, and it’s how the search engine implements changes to its already existing features. 

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How to monitor algorithm updates

Plenty of tools and technology are available to help you keep track of Google updates. One of the most versatile is Google Analytics or similar services like Ahrefs, Google Search Console,  and SEMrush. These help you identify ranking reports and web tracking traffic. 

Decreasing performances shown by this tool can only indicate two possible scenarios: changing market trends or updates in Google’s systems. These tools are also great at factor analysis to give you a general idea of backlink performances by summarising all variables. A consistent web tracking process can give you an early heads-up of the following core update and ample time to adjust your SEO strategies accordingly. 

Google Algorithm ranking factors

All changes Google applied to its algorithm have all been in the service of having a reliable ranking system. Before applying any changes, they needed to identify the crucial factors in determining relevance in search results. 

The algorithm is complex because of all the factors it has to juggle, including context, usability, the meaning of the query, and the quality of every web page. It also has to consider your Google search settings as a variable. Fortunately, Google summarised them in three categories for a better understanding of its systems, namely the following:

On-page factors

On-page factors refer to all influential pieces within one web page. The most impactful is content which is the main focus of any web page, whether text or media. Google conducts an on-page SEO evaluating its readability, such as basic grammar and spelling of every word as well as the age of the target audience that can comprehend it. 

Freshness is scored simply by how old it is since published or last edited, so older and possibly outdated content is scored lower. An image on the website should also have a curated alt attribute to help the page score high on the SERP.

On-page SEO also scores how easy it is to navigate the page. That includes implementing backlinks, table of contents, and internal linking. The more natural, the better because navigation is part of Google’s efforts to improve user experience. 

Off-page factors

Off-page means other pages or websites that are connected to the current page. The most impactful factor is the link. Off-page SEO evaluates your online casino brand based on how well your backlinks perform individually. Thus, your casino’s pages score higher in SERP. 

Having backlinks in news and blogs helps boost your online presence, especially if they are active in social media sharing. Having an online presence on various websites strengthens social signals promoting your casino. Listings are also great off-page factors for branding, like review sites that can link to your online casino promotions page. 

Technical factors

Technical SEO covers the evaluation of a web page’s site architecture. The most important is its HTTPS security level to ensure users that it’s a safe web page to visit. It is also the factor that covers the safety of links found within the content. Most websites need a schema markup, also called structured data, which search engines use to understand the contents of the pages. 

Other technical factors include the configuration of the website because technical SEO also scores overall performance and user experience. This aims to see site speed and mobile responsiveness and then penalise signs of inconvenience. A site audit is also important, and it’s about tracking the performance of every webpage on the website. 

This will try to measure the bounce rate (chances of visitors leaving as soon as they enter) and dwell time (how long an average visitor stays on the same page). You should prepare an XML sitemap, a file containing the list of pages on the website to make crawling and indexing easier for the Google Algorithm.

Google Algorithm for SEO

SEO revolves around trying to rank as high as possible at the SERP. There are several branches of strategies designed for a variety of target audiences. For example, marketing your online casino to citizens of a single country means conducting local SEO. 

This means you are trying to use keywords used in local searches and designing your web page to cater to the experience the demographic wants. Likewise, an international SEO will have a wider demographic and rank more generic pages higher than those meant for a specific country. 

Likewise, websites health-related pages need to scale high in the E-A-T metric. That means that the query needs to be understood and answered by the best practice for recovery or prevention diagnosis. The medical industry is usually more comprehensive with its data because they share information worldwide. 

Google Algorithm cannot accurately measure the accuracy of the information, so they usually need references on other pages to verify facts from misinformation. However, it can have a more straightforward metric for measuring privacy and security. Hence, SEO also needs to be wary of a website’s structure. This is true for all websites, especially the online casino industry, where real cash circulates daily.

Google Algorithm can continue to evolve over time. It started as a simple rudimentary search engine to look for keywords, and now it’s able to discern between low- and high-quality pages. Google has recently started developing artificial intelligence (AI) to help communicate with users by providing a more natural conversation rather than simply showing links. This is going to be a huge step up from machine learning which helped the algorithm for years.


Google Algorithm is a complex tool for marketing, but you cannot maximise its full potential without understanding its features. Hence, the top recommendation is to work with webmasters and SEO professionals like QWERTYLABS. We can help with the implementation of a reliable link-building strategy to give your brand a strong online presence and high authority in the online casino industry. 

You can request links to certain pages on an article or blog to promote your casino’s pages. It will be done with high quality because Google Search Algorithm explained is only one of QWERTYLABS’ specialities. Contact us now so we can work together for the future of your online casino business. 


The answer to the question ‘what is the Google Search Algorithm?’ is a complex matter to tackle. It’s better to know about its tinier parts to understand the concept as a whole fully. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions on the topic:

How often does the Google Algorithm update?

Google makes minor changes to the algorithm several times a year. These are missable details that are only meant to polish the current system. Major changes called the ‘Google Core Updates’ happen once a year, bringing fundamental changes to how the search engine works. 

How can I monitor my website's performance in Google search results?

Several tools can help you track website performance. The top two are Google Analytics for evaluating website traffic and Google Search Console for tracking search queries. You can track your SERP rankings through SEO tools like SEMrush and Ahrefs. 

What is the impact of the Google Algorithm on SEO?

SEO helps websites become visible to their target audiences primarily for free, all thanks to the Google Algorithm. This mathematical equation accurately scores and ranks every piece of content uploaded and encourages pages built with professionalism and care. If it weren’t for Google Algorithm, search results would only show pages that used black hat SEO instead of ones with high quality. 

How can I optimise my website for the Google Algorithm?

Know your target audience, research keywords that they used, and build high-quality content using those words or phrases. Improve the navigation quality of your blog to score high in on-page SEO and expand your online presence by making high-quality backlinks and leveraging social media. 

What should I do if my website is affected by a Google Algorithm update?

Being negatively affected by Google updates means your page is old or contains outdated information. The only way to get a high SEO score is to update the information or replace its contents with similar but updated details. Adding new content to your website helps maintain it, but a simple new backlink on a new page is enough to do the trick.

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