When is the last time you checked-in on the SEO health of your site? Has anything changed recently? Chances are it has – as Google’s search engine is always evolving, with frequent updates and improvements to algorithms that aim to benefit the overall user experience. It’s essential that marketers keep up with these changes, because if you’re not paying attention, you can risk losing first page rankings and a chunk of organic traffic along with it.
Fortunately, Google’s most recent update was a small one in comparison to last August when “Google Medic Update” threw hundreds of sites into recovery mode. The new broad core search algorithm update, announced by Google in August 2019, consisted of several changed designed to ensure that overall Google is providing relevant and authoritative content to searchers. It usually happens a couple times a year.
Some may say that the recent core update is another way Google is attempting to combat fake news and illegal content. Judging by their “questions to ask yourself” for an honest assessment on quality content, we think this assumption is likely true. Here are a few examples of Google’s suggestions:
- Does the headline and/or page title avoid being exaggerating or shocking in nature?
- Would you expect to see this content in or referenced by a printed magazine, encyclopedia or book?
- Does the content present information in a way that makes you want to trust it, such as clear sourcing or evidence of the expertise involved?
Like a lesson taken from any great SciFi movie, we know that artificial intelligence isn’t always 100% reliable – and Google knows it too. To accommodate for this, they started to use something called “rater data” which uses real people to asses how well their algorithms are working. While raters have no impact on how pages rank, they use a system called E-A-T (Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness) to evaluate content and provide feedback to Google.
On the other hand, despite seeing a drop in rankings, Google says some sites may not need to fix anything. (Although we think that a drop in page rankings is a strong hint to up your competitive strategy.) This drop can happen because page rankings are always natural changing, as explained by Google in their recent announcement.
“One way to think of how a core update operates is to imagine you made a list of the top 100 movies in 2015. A few years later in 2019, you refresh the list. It’s going to naturally change. Some new and wonderful movies that never existed before will now be candidates for inclusion. You might also reassess some films and realize they deserved a higher place on the list than they had before”
Bottom line, Google suggests focusing on ensuring you’re offering the best quality content you can that will create the best experience for users – which is definitely a good thing. That’s what their algorithms seek to reward and what the Inbound Methodology is all about! Let’s make sure your site is at the forefront of that top 100 list.
For further reading, here is another article with tips on how to create quality content.