While the search engine rolls out algorithm updates every few days, every 3-4 months they roll out a broad core algorithm update which causes heads to turn in the SEO community – mostly in anxiety. Labelled the ‘Star Wars Day’, Google rolled out their last core algorithm on May 4th and the gap between the core algorithms could be reasoned as a delay caused by the global pandemic. The Star Wars Day algorithm continued the search engine’s quest to enhance user experience and a continuation of its process to rank websites using BERT algorithm that was rolled out in the flag-end of 2019.
As usual, when Google announced that they were rolling out a core algorithm on December 3rd, they were restrained in giving out any information about the Core Algorithm, and yet again, pointed at its Webmaster Guidelines for SEO experts to reference if their websites do see a drop in rankings and overall traffic.
What this means and a reiteration time and time again is that websites that follow the Expertise-Authoritativeness-Trustworthiness (E-A-T) guidelines and have established themselves in all three parameters shouldn’t worry too much about algorithm updates and this is a direct cue from Google. That said, if your website does fall in rankings, then the question of relevance of your content should be addressed.
What we know of the effects of Google’s Core Algorithm updates
Needless to say, but the very reason why such announcements do cause panic in the SEO community is because websites rankings do take a hit. However, if the focus of a website is founded on E-A-T, such updates should be looked on as an opportunity to move further up the search ladder. The focus of such updates is to improve content quality and relevance based on trends and what users are searching for today. For websites that saw a drop in rankings from the previous algorithm updates, the core algorithm updates are by no means a measure to fix their standing on search.
What your business should focus on, if your website does fall in search rankings in coming days?
Here are few pointers to implement if your rankings fall or haven’t improved following the update:
- Keep your content relevant and conversational
With search having moved from keyword-based SEO to semantic SEO, content has to be conversational to will help the search engine pick out your content for a query that it relates to and display it as the direct answer. Of course, your content needs to be fresh and relevant to trends and queries asked by users online.
- Focus on user experience
Google wants to give users a better user experience and prefers content that is original, researched, beyond obvious, and trustworthy. Having market experts carry out webinars or pen thought-leadership articles on your page will prove to the search engine that your content is of value to the audience.
- You need to establish authority
To establish whether a website has authority, Google now banks on crowd-sourced content to give them that answer. If you’re a business that receives positive reviews and comments to your content or product and services then guess what, Google is going to favor your website.
- Establish prominence and relevance of your business
This is extremely important if you are a local business. You can establish prominence if people can reach your business easily – which means you first need to be relevant to their queries. For this, ensure your business details are accurate on all directories (starting with GMB) and you have local-flavored content that grabs their attention for near-me sort of queries.
While the focus is predominantly on content when there is a shift in rankings, Google looks at many strategic points when ranking a page higher than another – with user experience being the objective. For example, a website needs to be responsive, crawlable, should have clear navigational points for the user, shouldn’t be cluttered with ads, and most importantly, should take less time to load. Talking about speed, the Core Vitals Update (rolling out in May 2021) is sure to drop websites that don’t meet the mark down the rankings as Google has been clear that it will be a direct ranking signal.
If you wish to know how you could improve your website’s visibility on the Knowledge Panel, as rich results, and reach your desired audience while staying up-to-date with Google’s latest algorithms and search trends, and the critical Core Web Vitals update, reach out to us at [email protected] or call us on +1 408 200 2211.