Google made over 3,200 changes to its search system last year alone. That tidbit came out Monday in a Google blog post on keeping its search results relevant and useful.
3,200 changes! Yes, Google has for a while said it makes, on average, several changes to search per day, and 3,200 changes per year would be about several per day. Google wrote, “Our search algorithms are complex math equations that rely on hundreds of variables, and last year alone, we made more than 3,200 changes to our search systems.”
2010 Google had 350-400 changes. Back in 2010, we covered that Google had about one change per day. Matt Cutts, the former Gogle search spam fighter, said Google made about 350-400 changes in 2009. Google has expedited those changes over the years.
What type of changes? What are these changes? Are they ranking changes? Are they user interface changes? It is probably a mix of both. But Google said, “Some of these were visible launches of new features, while many others were regular updates meant to keep our results relevant as content on the web changes.”
“And some are also improvements based on issues we identified, either via public reports or our own ongoing quality evaluations,” Google added.
Changes can take time. Google said that some changes can take time. Changes to its knowledge panel and auto-suggestions predictions can happen quickly. But featured snippets and other changes around the core web results can take time. Google said, “Unlike with Search features where we are able to quickly correct issues that violate our policies, sometimes identifying the root cause of ranking issues can take time, and improvements may not happen immediately.”
Why we should care. If anything is true in SEO, it is that we can always expect change. Google has changed its ranking over the years and continues to release algorithmic updates to improve and improve. SEOs cannot just sit idle and expect rankings today will be the same tomorrow. As Google continues to make changes, web sites must continue to improve to gain and maintain rankings in Google.
Postscript: Google informed us this figure is a few months old and in the past few months Google updated the How Search Works page with 2017 numbers.