SEO & Google Core Updates: Is Your Website Prepared for Change?
Google Core Updates are changes to Google’s search algorithm and are rolled out periodically. The Google Core Updates may be small or more significant. These updates will affect how your website appears in search results. In this blog post, we’ll explore what impact Google Core Updates might have on your site, and what general steps you can take to prepare.
How Will Core Updates Affect My Website?
Google core updates may hurt your website and consequently, your site can lose ranking in Google. E-commerce sites for example may find a drop in traffic due to being penalized by Google for slow size speed or not loading quickly enough on mobile devices. Non-mobile-friendly sites are penalized by Google although algorithm updates and rankings may drop as a result.
Google dislikes low-quality content and pages with limited or duplicated content. For websites replying on short blog posts or duplicated content for example, site rankings could be impacted. Excessive use of ads or pop-ups can also adversely affect your site.
How Can I Avoid Negative Impacts from Google Core Updates?
You can avoid negative impacts from the Core Update by keeping your website up to date and using a mobile responsive design by following these best practices. Make sure that you’re doing the following:
- Always add new, quality content – Quality content holds great importance for Google, and the E-A-T (Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness) of content has been a significant factor in determining its page ranking.
- Ensure the content is error-free and contains no factual, grammatical, or spelling errors.
- Check the headline is optimized and that it offers a good description of the topic.
- If drawing on other sources, is the content adding value and originality to the topic?
- Update old content regularly – an important factor Google considers when ranking content is how recently it has been updated. An older piece of content that has not been updated in a long time may be viewed as less relevant or useful than a piece of content that has been recently updated. Updating old content can therefore improve its relevance and maintain its search engine ranking.
- Fix any broken links – this is important for Google core updates because it can affect the website’s search engine ranking as it can negatively impact the website’s user experience and overall quality. This can result in a lower ranking for the website in search engine results pages (SERPs).
- Review the content and check it is trustworthy, would you or someone you know find this useful as a reference?
- Have a mobile-responsive site – this means optimizing the content for smaller screens and ensuring that all links work properly if someone uses their phone or tablet when browsing the web.
- Perform a content or website audit – examine the pages that have been most affected and scrutinize the types of searches that have been impacted. Compare these against your competitors’ content. If their content ranks higher than yours for the same search query, it may be because they offer first-hand knowledge on the topic, rather than relying on secondary sources.
Recovery Mode: What To Do If Your Site Is Impacted by Google Core Updates
Many of Google’s core updates may have little to no effect on your website. The best way to ensure your website is up to date is by keeping track of Google’s updates. You can do this by signing up for Google Search Console, which will give you regular notifications about any changes made and how they might affect your site.
Navigating Google’s core updates can be challenging, but you can avoid impacts by following the tips in the previous section. If you are hit by a Google Core update, here’s what to do:
- Make sure your website works well on mobile devices, so users have a better experience.
- Limit the number of ads on your website.
- Check your website’s content and design. Make sure you’re providing value to your users and following Google’s guidelines.
- Review your website’s content and design regularly to ensure your website meets Google’s quality standards.
- Keep up to date with Google’s advice on updates and check if your content meets their standards for expertise, authority, and trustworthiness.
- Try not to use too many pop-ups, especially on mobile devices.
- Check how your website is performing in Google search results and check for any changes that may affect your rankings.
Bonus tip: Seek honest feedback. Ask the opinions of people you trust who are not affiliated with your site and are unbiased. Their input can help you identify areas where you can improve your content, design, or overall user experience. To go a step further, a website audit for example can provide you with key information on how to keep your website ranking highly on Google and ahead of the curve when it comes to updates.
Google’s regular updates are a good thing for the web and Google users. They help keep your website up to date, so it will be more secure against hacking attempts and other attacks. If you want to stay ahead of Google’s changes, hiring a consultant who can monitor these updates on your behalf and provide timely advice on how best to adjust your site and other SEO tactics is worth hiring. Focusing on user experience is a good way to future-proof your website for Google Core Updates. By implementing these best practices, you can help ensure your website remains relevant and visible to users.
References & further reading
Google Core Updates: https://developers.google.com/search/updates/core-updates
Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test: https://search.google.com/test/mobile-friendly
Google’s Web Vitals: https://web.dev/vitals/
Google’s Page Speed Insights: https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/
Google’s Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines: https://static.googleusercontent.com/media/guidelines.raterhub.com/en//searchqualityevaluatorguidelines.pdf
Keep your content up-to-date: Hubspot’s guide to updating old blog content: https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/how-to-update-old-blog-posts-for-improved-traffic-and-ranking
Yoast’s guide to removing and redirecting outdated content: https://yoast.com/remove-old-content/
Google’s tips for keeping content fresh: https://developers.google.com/search/docs/advanced/guidelines/content-creation
Be prepared for change: Google’s Webmaster Central Blog: https://developers.googleblog.com/search/
Moz’s guide to Google algorithm updates: https://moz.com/google-algorithm-change
Search Engine Journal’s guide to creating original content: https://www.searchenginejournal.com/creating-original-content/323647/