June saw Google make two major updates to their algorithm and ranking methodology. Google makes a number of updates every year. Some require website owners to take action to prevent their rankings from being affected, while others are just basic guidelines that should be followed going forward to rank even better. Some are more impact than others. Look at the Fred update, for instance. It deranked so many websites trying to game the system. But what about the more recent updates?
This is what you need to know about Google’s recent updates.
Core algorithm update
Google’s first update was made to their core algorithm and unlike Panda or Penguin updates; a core update doesn’t necessarily affect a specific ranking factor or impact websites using a specific SEO technique. It’s merely a general update that improves SEO rankings in general and there is no “fix” that website owners need to focus on.
Domain diversity update
While Google has promised to announce pending updates before they are released, this wasn’t the case for the Domain Diversity update. The update is focused on ensuring that a wider range of domains appears in search results. This means that Google will be limiting the number of listings one domain has for a specific search query, ensuring users can access a wide selection of fresh content.
With this being said, the search results will still depend on search terms, which means a specific website could still dominate a results page if the search term is linked to their brand, product, or service. So far, no specific industries have been impacted but time will tell as this update takes effect.
Google’s latest update – what to focus on
To ensure you can make the most of this recent update, Google has offered some tips.
It’s important to note that just because a web page starts performing less well after an update such as this doesn’t mean Google has penalized your site – core updates don’t target specific pages or sites at all. Core updates are simply Google’s way of ensuring that users are receiving the most relevant and informative information based on their search queries.
Overall, Google suggests that website owners continue to focus on creating the very best content they can. There are four types of questions you can ask yourself to decide whether the content you have or are planning to create will be useful and worthwhile:
1. Is this quality content?
Google’s first question is centered on whether or not the content you’re creating is high-quality. Quality content is classified as original, insightful, and comprehensive. Google recommends using clickbait headlines as this is not an indicator of quality content.
They also suggest focusing on the authoritativeness of your content. Could you see someone bookmarking this content or placing it in a printed magazine? This is not to say that user bookmarking habits are now a ranking factor. It just encourages website owners to create content that users would want to refer back to.
2. Is this content credible?
Next, ask yourself whether your content comes across as trustworthy. Google recommends making sure that the credentials of the author and website are clear. It’s also important for the content to be free from factual errors. If you are creating content that would impact someone’s finances or life, it’s especially important that your facts be clear and credible.
3. What first impression is this content giving off?
Next, Google speaks to the importance of style and presentation. For one, if your content has an excessive amount of ads that detract from the content itself, you may want to rethink your approach. It’s also imperative that your content displays correctly on mobile devices, especially now that mobile-first indexing is in full swing. Colors, spacing, and images all need to be taken into consideration when creating content for mobile. You just can’t ignore rich media at this point.
4. How does your content compare to competitors?
To determine whether your content is measuring up to competitors, have a look at the pages that are showing up on page one of Google’s search results. Does the content provide value? Are there gaps that your content could fill for this particular search query? While content creators and marketers once used keyword research as the starting point for the creation process, focusing on user interest is now far more important.
Besides the diversity update, Google has been quite good at announcing updates before they happen, which ensures website owners can continue to prepare for any changes that might affect them directly. Until then, it’s really just a case of focusing on what your users want and need when accessing content and information online.