Google algorithm updates in 2019

January 21, 2020 - 3  min reading time - by Julie Quintard
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Google consistently changes and updates its algorithm. 2019 was a full year for Google and SEOs: BERT, core updates and multiple indexing bugs.

To give you a clearer overview, here is the big list of the 2019 Google’s updates. We hope this will help you skyrocket your SEO in 2020!

Google’s 2019 Algorithm Updates

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Unconfirmed Update

February 6th
Barry Schwartz and MozCast both detected some fluctuations, especially in the UK. This update didn’t have a significant impact on the SERPs.

19-results SERPs

March 1st
Between February 28th and March 1st, the SEO community detected some spikes in Google’s index. Following these fluctuations and during one day, Google showed several SERPs with 19 results. This update seemed to be related to in-depth articles and the effects on the SERPs had completely disappeared by March 6th.

March Core Update

March 13th
Google announced a broad core algorithm update on March 13th. It was not clear which type of websites were targeted by this update but Google announced that there was no possible fix if your site was negatively impacted.

Deindexing Bug

April 5th
This one is not an update but a bug which broadly affected Google’s index. According to Moz, between the 5th and the 7th, around 4% of the URLs on page-1 have fallen off. It took 6 days for Google to successfully fix the bug. They were unable to identify the source of the issue.

Indexing bugs

May 23rd
From the 23rd to the 25th, Google confirmed a bug related to the new content indexing which prevented fresh content from being displayed in the SERPs. Google fixed this bug in 2.5 days but didn’t say exactly where it came from.

June Core Update

June 3rd
Google pre-announced a June update on the 2nd. The next day, the update was rolled out, mainly impacting some of the major UK publishers and other websites which had been impacted by previous core updates.

Site Diversity Update

June 6th
This update concerned domain diversity in the SERPs. Google clarified that this update was not related to the core update which rolled out 3 days earlier. It’s purpose was to show more diversity in the SERPs by displaying no more than 2 results from the same domain for a given query.

Maverick Update

July 12th
This update, called the “Maverick Update” by the SEO community, wasn’t confirmed by Google but was spotted by SERP monitoring tools. Several heavy traffic and ranking shifts were noted in various industries.

September Core Update

September 24th
Google announced an update to be rolled out during the day of September 24th. The update only impacted websites which already had a penalty from a previous update and aimed at giving more preference to original reporting.

BERT Update

October 22nd
This update was probably the biggest of the year. The BERT Natural Processing Language model is used to Google better understand the users’ queries and their context. It’s not really possible to optimize your website for this update. The best thing to do is still to offer valuable content. However, this is an important step in Google’s work for handling NLP. While the original update concerned only English-language searches on, it was rolled out internationally for over 70 languages on December 9th.

November “Bedlam” Local Update

November 7th
Google confirmed this local update which aimed at adding neural matching to local queries. This update helps Google to understand conceptually how the business name can be related to the query and user intent.

Indexing bug

November 21st
This bug was related to the new Google snippet controls and could trigger Google to deindex specific pages. If you were using max-image-preview tag with no value then Google would simply remove your page from the index. The bug was quickly fixed and the pages were reindexed.


Julie Quintard See all their articles
Julie worked for many years as a Marketing Manager at Oncrawl. Passionate about the digital world and about marketing, she regularly wrote articles about SEO and Oncrawl news. You can reach her on Twitter.
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