Google completed the first part of a global “core algorithm update” on June 12, with the second part of the algorithm update to be released in July. The company performs these updates every year to improve search results based on its ever-improving understanding of natural language.
It is unusual for the company to release separate core algorithms updates so close together, but according to Google Search Liaison Danny Sullivan, most changes won’t be noticeable by users.
However, there has been a lot of SEO industry chatter surrounding this update compared with previous ones. Data providers say every Google core algorithm update can bring changes to how a site’s content ranks. That means if your site relies heavily on Google traffic, it may be an opportune time to see how it was affected by the update.
Google acknowledges some sites may see a hit to their statistics but maintains that no particular website or type of content will be a clear winner or loser because effects will vary from site to site. In response to Google’s core algorithm update -- and in preparation for the next one in July -- minimize your risk by following the do’s and don’ts below.
Don’t panic over the recent update if traffic dropped. Instead, make a plan to improve your content. The goal of Google’s core updates is to do a better job matching content to what it thinks people are trying to find, a process it is continually fine-tuning.
Remember that it isn’t about you
Remind yourself that these updates are not targeted at your business, nor at any specific type of website or content. Google rolls out core algorithm updates to better address customer expectations and improve how people access content.
Make your SEO efficient
Even if the update is not intended to upend your business and website, perhaps you still suffered some damage. So how do you get the lost traffic back to your domain? By making sure that your technical SEO is on point to mitigate the changes that might have occurred due to the update.
For starters, make your website mobile friendly. With the majority of website traffic now coming from mobile devices, it is imperative that your website be mobile friendly and responsive to customers. This will ensure that customers spend adequate time on your site, which will in turn be reflected to Google.
Also, make sure that your pages load quickly. In today’s world, when everything is mobile friendly and people are always on the go, long load times are a buzzkill. It is not uncommon for customers to skip to the next option if a page takes too long to load.
Finally, make sitemaps that tell users and Google which pages are important. Using alt tags for images is also effective because they provide a description about the image to Google's crawler, which improves search results.
Consider the user’s experience when developing content on your site instead of trying hard to convince Google that your site contains the best information. Focus on producing high-quality, relevant content and stop filling pages with keywords thinking it will improve your search results.
“Core updates are designed to increase the overall relevancy of our search results … [s]ome content might do less well, but other content gains,” said Sullivan, the company’s search liaison. “In the long term, improving our systems in this way is how we’ve continued to improve Search and send more traffic to sites across the web every year.”
With another update scheduled for next month, you need to plan ahead and concentrate on making your website the most user-friendly it can be.