Google has confirmed that the new subtopics ranking feature, which promises to deliver a wider gamut of relevant content to users in search, is now live.
Google’s Danny Sullivan responded to a tweet on Saturday (9th January) asking whether subtopics were now being used in search rankings.
He stated that the new algorithm tweak actually went live back in “Mid-November 2020”, which means that it has been affecting SERPs for almost two months now.
Google revealed its plans for subtopics in October, alongside a number of new announcements for the ‘Search On’ digital event.
At the time, Google said that it will soon deploy “neural nets to understand subtopics around an interest, which helps deliver a greater diversity of content when you search for something broad”.
Google then used a “home exercise equipment” query as an example of how it will serve content across a wider range of subtopics.
When searching for this particular query, Google says that it will now present content that covers budget equipment, as well as premium options, and other ideas for those who live in small spaces.
Google did plan to roll out subtopics before the end of last year, so it’s not a great surprise that it has gone live, but this is the first confirmation that it is now in action.
Sullivan also revealed that subtopics have not changed the look of search results and have simply broadened the content that is surfaced when it is deemed to be useful.
Google has been bringing new updates to search quite regularly in recent weeks.
It also confirmed the third major core broad algorithm update of 2020 in early December.
The rollout of this update was completed just before Christmas and research from SEO software providers indicates that it has had a substantial impact on search rankings.