Here’s the Lowdown on the Google Algorithm Update
It’s August and that means that it’s time for Google to do that thing where it rolls out a new algorithm update. This latest broad core update is very content-centered. What this means is that the focus on content is now more defined with the most significant metrics focusing on quality.
Now, something that you might not realize is that Google makes small changes to its algorithm every single day because it has to maintain the integrity of its search results, which is why search engine optimization is an ongonig process. Core updates like this latest one, however, are much larger. When this type of update occurs, website owners and webmasters will notice fluctuations in search results. When it’s all said and done, some may rise and some may fall.
Google’s Current Recommendation
In this case, the recommendation by Google is to remain focused on building quality content. This makes sense because Google relies heavily on written content to determine what a website is about. Plus, Google has over 150 pages of guidelines when it comes to how content should be written for ranking reasons while also being useful to website visitors.
Nonetheless, this is a “broad” update that is a refinement that improves search engine results quality. The bottom line is that rankings need to be checked to see if they were affected. If a website’s rankings changed, the primary fix is the improvement of content so it coincides more with Google’s quality guidelines.
Our Observations and Advice to You
We are perfectly aware of Google’s content guidelines, so we can look at your content and determine how to improve it. However, this isn’t an update to approach in a matter of days. In fact, it requires some evaluation before changes are made to determine what those changes should be. Data is very important in this case.
Here are some observations that have been made so far:
- Your Money Your Life (YMYL) pages are being affected. This most likely has to do with Google putting actual expert advice ahead of manufactured advice.
- Not all sites are being affected by the update.
- Large chains with multiple locations across the U.S. have noticed ranking drops in favor of smaller business, which is great news for the small business owner.
- Both organic results and map listings have been affected, which indicates a change in local ranking and organic ranking.
Some of the niches that have been affected (this is not an exhaustive list since the update is still rolling out at the time of this writing) include:
- Hosting services
- Vapes and E-cigs
- Women’s health
- Keto diet
- Medical and health-related pages
- Nutrition-related pages
- Home medical equipment
Legal and financial are also suspected to be impacted by the update. The fix for this is to evaluate content performance and remove or update low-quality content on the website. Google Search Console is an effective tool to find errors and fix them. These errors include broken links, images, and media files that are SEO killers.
The Best Fix
The best fix in addition to adding new content, updating existing low-quality content, and fixing anything broken on your website, is to focus on building your brand. Google gives more weight to brands that have more search queries than the competitors, which is nothing new. Traffic has always been a ranking metric. However, good SEO tactics, content building, and utilization of social media are ways in which a brand can be strengthened.