Google Algorithm Updates – three big words that are good for Google, but sometimes bad for your website. Unless of course, you’re ahead of Google’s game.
When do Google Algorithm Updates affect your site? Frequently. Over 500 updates have been released over the past year alone, some small and unobtrusive, and others considered major algorithm updates – with the potential to wreak havoc on your website ranking plans. So how do you stay ahead of Google’s Algorithm Updates?
Below are 10 helpful insights for staying ahead of the game.
1. First, be a good player. Truthful, quality content that adds value to your audience is not overlooked by Google’s AI. Gone are the days when Google ranked sites on the basis of just keywords, related links or dumb sites (sites that have no value except to refer or link back to the target site). Google can tell the difference between a site that truly adds value, compared to a site that repeats information or spammy keywords. Google’s algorithms can detect weak site content and can penalize your site rankings, so keep it true.
The folks at emarketeers.com said it best regarding good site content: “Google qualifies premium content as informative, engaging, relevant, authoritative and trustworthy.”
2. Avoid Blackhat SEO. This goes without saying and a bit opposite to #1 above – don’t try to beat Google’s system by using backdoor tricks that manipulate your site to greater heights artificially. Using techniques such as Hidden Text or Links, Keyword Stuffing, Sneaky Redirects or Cloaking will eventually reduce your ranking or get you penalized by the very algorithm system you are trying to beat.
3. Use site analysis tools to stay on top of your site’s performance. Tools like Google Trends and Moz can give valuable insight as to which direction your site is headed or where it’s been over time.
Enter a search word or phrase into Google Trends (https://trends.google.com) to see where in your country or region, that term or phrase is being searched. Other options show current trends based on search keywords, or past trends over time.
Moz tools provide insight for site SEO feedback, site performance, analysis for backlinks, keyword identification and site audits – all geared towards helping you stay ahead of Google’s Algorithm Updates.
4. Don’t bet the farm on just your website(s). When (not if) you get hit by Google Algorithm Updates and site performance dips, have other social media tools already in place. Use these tools to point those searching for your products or information back to your site. If your site performance dips because of any Google Algorithm Updates, traffic will still be directed to your site from other sources until you make the necessary adjustments to rank your site higher again.
5. Strengthen your site-to-conversion rate. You have a great site and you’re getting lots of organic traffic, but are you selling? And if your site is more informational, are those coming to your site staying on your site? Whether your site revenue is product or ad-driven, getting people to use your site for the intended purpose is key. Good SEO helps people find your site, but when Google Algorithm Updates cause new traffic to dip, repeat customers who know your site will continue to generate revenue.
6. Keep site information fresh. Regularly updating your site with new, relevant information or products will guarantee a better user experience. Neil Patel (neilpatel.com) who knows a thing or two about good site design and content says to “Focus on the fundamentals. A good user experience relies on good content. If you remember this, you’re less likely to be penalized in any future Google update.”
7. External and internal links. Have you ever asked yourself, what is SEO? SEO is all about driving traffic to your site, and links from other sources can also move people your direction. Promote yourself and your site by linking internally within your site from blog pages, sidebars, landing pages, and product pages. Helping users navigate through your site is not only good user interface, it also helps to rank your site higher.
External links are just as important, especially when it comes to related traffic. These links are a bit like LinkedIn relationships, where those you know or those you do business with, link to your site because of related content, product reviews, outside blogs and industry-related sharing of information. See https://www.emarketeers.com for additional specks on how to capitalize on internal and external links.
8. Stay in tune with Google. Google rarely announces algorithm updates. If they did, they would be posting announcements all the time, which isn’t their model, but with some major core updates, such as the June 2019 core update, Google tweeted it was coming and how it would add additional restrictions of two-listing from the same domain for search results. Some algorithm updates will affect your site rankings, while others may not, but it’s good to keep an eye on Google announcements (see tweets from Google SearchLiaison).
9. Go Mobile. The keyboard has changed. There are far more mobile phones in our hands than there are workstations and searches done with mobile devices return more relevant regional, local and more precise information than general searches do. Past Google Algorithm Updates have improved mobile results and helped rank mobile results specifically over desktop searches. GPS tracking on mobile devices helps return more local and more accurate results, so don’t forget to also design your site for mobile. After all, more people are searching for your site with their thumbs, not with a full-sized keyboard.
10. Learn from the best of the best. You may be good at SEO, but there is always someone you can learn from. Do a Google search for “top SEO influencers” or “best SEO experts” and the list is always similar. SEO Guru’s like Barry Schwartz, Neil Patel, Kristi Hines, and many others serve as mentors to the rest of us who can always learn from those who have paved the way to proven results. In fact, these guys probably use search phrases similar to the two phrases above on their own sites, boosting their own rankings when you search for “industry-leading SEO experts”. Why?
Because that’s just good SEO.