Google is known to constantly update its search algorithm throughout the year. Just a few months into 2019, Google has already rolled out a handful of algorithm updates. One of these Google search algorithm updates was launched around February 14 and has been dubbed the Google Valentine’s Day Algorithm Update.
Early signs that Google was updating its algorithms were spotted around February 7 when chatter on the WebmasterWorld forums pointed to SERP movements affecting UK-based queries.1 As Valentine’s Day approached, SERP trackers indicated significant search engine results volatility was now affecting sites worldwide with big spikes in the US and UK.
Is It Confirmed by Google?
As of today, Google has not confirmed this search algorithm update. However, Google does not confirm every one of the updates to their algorithm. Official confirmations are typically reserved for larger and broad core algorithm updates with wide-ranging impact. Still, even if it remains unconfirmed, there’s plenty of evidence this February 2019 update is real and affecting search rankings.
What is Google Targeting with This Update?
Since Google hasn’t yet confirmed this update or released any materials explaining its purpose, it is difficult to pinpoint exactly what Google is trying target. However, based on similar Google search algorithm updates launched this year and in 2018, it’s probably targeting the following:
- E-A-T: The author’s Experience, Authority, and Trustworthiness
- Content Quality: In-depth content with good links rank higher
- User Intent: The relevance of your content to users’ search queries
Work Toward Making Your Site Relevant to Users
Chances are high that Google’s recent updates are targeting user intent particularly. In order to please its users, they want to make sure relevant search results rank highest.
This commitment to customize their search engine experience to their users was reiterated by Google’s webmaster trends analyst Gary Illyes in a recent AMA on Reddit where he explained a component of Google’s core algorithm – Rank Brain.2
“RankBrain is a PR-sexy machine learning ranking component that uses historical search data to predict what would a user most likely click on for a previously unseen query.”
- Roger Montti, Search Engine Journal – Evidence of Google Valentine’s Day Algorithm Update
- Gary Illyes, Reddit – I am Gary Illyes, Google’s Chief of Sunshine and Happiness & trends analyst. AMA.