The landscape of SEO is ever-evolving. It’s important to stay up to date, if not ahead of the curve. To do so, we must understand how the algorithms that define it can change with little-to-no warning.
Google is regularly updating its algorithms. In fact, it’s been suggested Google’s algorithms change 500 to 600 times yearly. Most are minor tweaks, while others are more impactful. The latter of these are considered core updates. Both are important, but the core algorithm updates may dramatically alter the way a particular blog, page, or site returns in searches.
Several months can pass between the more impactful google algorithm updates. The latest ones, at the time of this writing, are listed below.
- The May 2022 core update was launched on May 25, 2022, and was completed on June 9, 2022. This update improved how Google’s systems assess content and was meant to reward pages that were well-made to do better within their algorithm.
- The November 2021 core update was launched on November 17, 2021, and was completed on November 30, 2021. This update had less of an impact on rankings but seemed to increase Google’s awareness of which author or company is publishing content.
- The June 2021 core update was launched on June 2, 2021, and was completed on June 12, 2022. This core update was a bit unorthodox in that it was rolled out as two parts, with the second part starting a month after the first.
- The most current broad core update was released on September 12, 2022, and could be completed in approximately two weeks.
While the immediate impact of these changes isn’t always clear, it’s a good idea to start looking into ways that page or blog can be better optimized. Even seemingly minute details can matter.
That’s why we stay on top of such details – and so can you.
Continue reading to better understand what a core algorithm update is and what it can mean to SEO.
Impact of Google Core Algorithm Update
Core updates are designed to improve the overall search experience and organically evolve with the ever-changing web. Site owners should understand that changes do not target specific sites but can still have immediate and broad effects.
To counteract a negative trend introduced by an algorithm update, Coalition Technologies reviews the various factors that could potentially be linked to the decrease in traffic. Everything from individual keywords to content.
Once issues have been identified, our teams begin modifying the pages to adhere more closely to the updated Google algorithm in order to preserve and increase rankings. It is important to note that producing and optimizing content according to Google’s best practices has always been one of the primary pillars of our services.
It’s difficult to prepare for the latest update since its effects are hard to predict. Once the changes take effect, there is no guarantee making any modifications to a particular site will improve results. At the same time, making no effort to optimize content will likely ensure there are no improvements either. Doing nothing is not an option.
The impact of the latest Google algorithm update can be a positive or negative one to marketers. This volatility – the increase or decrease of the visibility metric – will determine how anyone affected reacts. Once rankings slide, the reaction time of the industry is generally immediate. The ones on the losing end will need to consider how to improve their SEO strategies.
As for the sites that come out on top of the update, it’s important for their administrators to understand what they’ve been doing right and to continue producing that kind of content.
The general outcome of a core update is for companies to reevaluate their strategies and analyze the true impact of their marketing efforts.
An easier way to digest this is to think about a top movies list you created a few years ago. This list will fluctuate with new movies coming out in the subsequent years and will need to be reorganzied. The takeaway from this update trend is that if you’re adhering to Google’s quality guidelines and continually updating and improving your site, these updates will likely be a boon rather than a detriment.
The rankings returned from any user’s query are determined by the search engine’s algorithms, in this case, Google’s. Those who use Google are accustomed to the way keywords or phrases return results. This doesn’t speak to an exact science, but rather, a general philosophy or approach to how people may search.
If the same style of query starts to return different results, it will be noticed. Over time, users will modify their keyword combinations to obtain the results they seek. Down the line, this could potentially have an effect on how SEO will be handled for related pages. The cycle will go on.
Adjustments to Content After a Core Update
Before going over some recommendations on how to compensate for a core algorithm update, it is prudent to discuss what to expect. Looking back and reflecting on how previous content updates impacted your site or sites similar to yours is imperative when planning how to keep your rankings strong. While not all efforts around optimizing may put things back the way they were before the update, having an actionable strategy post-update is vital.
After ensuring all core updates have taken effect, usually after a couple of weeks, evaluation can begin. After that point, it’s possible some rankings have returned. The majority, however, will likely take additional optimization steps and time.
Let’s say a site’s rankings slip after the latest algorithm update from Google. Those responsible for the site’s content react by attempting to optimize. Upon doing so, they begin to wonder how long it will take to recover.
The recovery time has to do with what is happening after a core algorithm update. Evaluating what pages seem most affected and any keywords lost can give an idea of where to focus. Once changes are made it’s time to reevaluate page rankings.
Even after all the recovery work, content may not fully recover until the next core update. To ensure it eventually recovers, the focus should continue to be on content that enriches your site experience for users.
What Defines Quality Content?
There is no single determining factor when it comes to trying to create quality content. Still, there are certain elements that go into any effort to produce something that will maintain visibility. Having subject experts or writers who do their homework is a good start. These content creators must then produce something that is both unique and interesting.
Lacking informative and accurate content would constitute a mistake in the approach to page design. It wouldn’t just affect the latest Google algorithm update, it would impact the SEO strategy going forward.
And yet, as mentioned, Google is not known for sharing what changes are in a core algorithm update. Without public release of the specifics, site owners and marketers would seem to have no guidance on how to proceed with their updated optimization.
Or do they?
Time to E-A-T
This is where the E-A-T (Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness) approach comes in.
Each time – including the latest – that there is a core algorithm update, Google recommends the same approach. That approach, in essence, is to focus on creating page content that is relevant to site queries.
One guideline for accomplishing this is referred to as the aforementioned E-A-T. What exactly is meant by this acronym?
Basically, it refers to the characteristics or measurements in determining what constitutes high-quality pages. It may seem ambiguous, but it’s really the focus on creating value by those who have good credentials in doing so.
To break it down, Google’s latest algorithm updates seek content creators with expertise, web pages that manifest authoritativeness, and trustworthiness in the creators themselves. There don’t appear to be any ranking factors that are formulated to utilize these desired qualities, rather, it’s the job of human beings.
These reviewers look for content that is helpful, trustworthy, and from experts – or at least from proven experience. So what does this mean to the efforts to build or improve material? In a nutshell, creators should simply strive to produce the best content possible. The recent updates have taken SERPs closer to this ideal. The changes executed by Google have been pushing to highlight this kind of content and push it higher in rankings.
In short, E-A-T is a mindset that drives standards that will organically bring about pages and sites that should return optimal results in queries. Beyond that, there are other factors to consider. Let’s take a look at some.
Is the Content Optimal for Mobile Devices?
We live in an age where people are tied to their mobile phones. About 86% of Americans get their news from mobile devices. That’s a staggering number, but equally impressive is that over 58% of world wide web traffic is generated from these same types of devices.
It should come as no surprise that Google search results are weighted for such optimization. In fact, Google has a place to go and test web pages, verifying that they are usable for mobile devices.
Content creators would do well to ensure their pages are optimized to be mobile-friendly. Anything less would be a hit to rankings – Google core update or not.
We’ve discussed the importance of quality content and how the latest update to Google’s algorithm will address it. Visitors to sites must find the words they read engaging, worth sharing, and remembering. Regarding that last one, it’s been suggested that people are 22 times more likely to remember something that’s been weaved into a story format.
It is also important to note that Google does take grammar and spelling mistakes into account. Eliminating these kinds of easy-to-overlook errors will have an impact on your site’s reputation and ranking.
Now, let’s go over what can distract people from enjoying those articles that took so much time to produce. While there may be many variables to consider here, our focus will be on a couple in particular.
Ads: Well-Designed or Distracting?
Display ads come in many forms. Visiting a website almost guarantees some exposure to one or more of these types of advertising. Internet users are so accustomed to seeing them, that they might notice if they were absent.
Still, there is an art to placing these ads so that they do not become a distraction to the content itself. To ensure this doesn’t happen, there are a few things worth considering.
- Keep the design attractive and to the point. A simple design along with quick delivery is typically enough. Too little can be unimpressive. Too much can be a distraction.
- Ensure the CTA (Call to Action) is strong and inspires action. A simple request to click a link for more info is hardly inspiring. A specific lead-up can interest the user to want more.
- The final destination should be a well-designed landing page. An aesthetically pleasing and smooth loading webpage can make it worth the click.
Avoid Content that Contains Exaggerations.
There are many traits associated with writing good copy. Having content that fails to pass fact-checking isn’t one of them. It takes a long time to build a good reputation in comparison to how quickly one can be dismantled.
It’s best to avoid hyperbole or any statements that cannot stand up to scrutiny. People want to trust the content they’re exposed to. If they don’t, the effects of the latest Google algorithm update will be moot.
There are probably a ton of other things that could be mentioned – website security, category pages, and navigation structure, to name a few. It’s good to remember that everything we’ve covered can affect SEO.
With that, let’s shift focus back to why all of this matters. It’s not really about specific changes based on any past or future core update. That’s a reactionary approach. We think the message from Google is to always be proactive in such endeavors.
Be Prepared for the Algorithm Changes
Updates to Google’s search algorithm happen, in some form, all the time. Daily tweaks are common. We know that core updates will occur a few times each year. With such knowledge, content creators need to be prepared for the inevitable.
At some point, search queries are going to experience volatility. This could be positive or it may invoke stress. Either way, this is simply the nature of things. The focus should be on what Google was trying to accomplish with its latest algorithm update.
We’ll give you a hint. It’s what every core algorithm update is supposed to be about. A never-ending process that seeks to ensure the highest-quality search results.
Always Focus on Improvement
There is a purpose to Google’s algorithm updates. Once the latest goes into effect, there is no magical answer involved in recovering from the effects. It takes time and effort.
This perpetual chase for quality is something every content owner and marketer should also be focused on. That requires dedication, expertise, and success at doing it.
Our focus is always on improving. We’ll accept nothing less than being among the best. This is likely your focus too.
SEO is a continuous endeavor, especially with sudden changes that occur after Google updates its algorithms. For those seeking the latest strategies, Coalition Technologies is ready to assist.
Contact us to discover the various ways we can help.