If you were deep in the throes of SEO over the last year and a half, Google’s algorithm updates went from the pace of seasonal changes in Minnesota to the wild daily temperature swings of Colorado.

They became more frequent. A lot more frequent.

Do you wear a t-shirt or a coat? Pants or shorts? …It might change again in the next ten minutes, so come bearing layers.

Yet despite the uptick in frequency, Google’s recommendation was the same every time:

Obsess over providing an excellent user experience and we’ll give you more visibility.

Here are Google’s two biggest algorithm updates over the last year and a half, and how they should impact your SEO strategy:

More Announcements, More Often

First, it’s worth pointing out that Google’s changes were a lot more publicized than they have been in years past. And frequent. And focused on minutiae.

As marketers, this is a helpful signal to know that the world is shifting more rapidly – and that we can expect Google to shift more rapidly in response.

A word from the wise: build your forward-looking SEO strategies with flexibility in mind.

(We think Confucius might’ve said that).

#1. The “Passage Indexing” Update

On February 10, 2021, Google’s Passage Indexing update went live. It was positioned as an improvement meant to help surface the right information for very specific searches – ones that sometimes might be buried deep in a web page (“that needle-in-a-haystack information you’re looking for”).

What changed?

Rather than indexing a page as the sum total of its parts, this update means Google is looking closer at each page element.

What does this mean for your SEO strategy?

There’s more opportunity embedded in micro optimizations on a page built to rank well. Focus on making sure each area, top to bottom, is well positioned for visibility.

#2. The “Page Experience” Update

On June 25, 2021, Google began rolling out the Page Experience update. While user experience has long been in the rankings mix, Google positioned this as an update to further feature pages that offer excellent user experiences.

What changed?

Google signalled that user experience, especially on mobile, is being emphasized more heavily in search rankings.

What does this mean for your SEO strategy?

If you’ve been putting off a website refresh or skipping over problematic areas of your site, now is a good time to bring those items back to the top of the list.

Not sure how to measure user experience for a given page?

A tool like Crazy Egg can show you heat maps of how users interact with your site, while SEO tools like Moz Pro’s On-Page Optimization or SEM Rush’s On-Page SEO Checker can give you insider tips on how to improve individual pages.


Want to brush up on your SEO history? You can find a complete timeline of Google’s algorithm changes here.

Magneti aims to be the most effective and innovative growth marketing team in the world.