It’s no surprise that Google dominates the search engine market–so much so that it has become a common verb in daily conversations and an even more commonly used tool among, well, pretty much everyone. A quick Google search can yield more results than we even thought possible, but no one really seems to go beyond those first couple of pages. In order to sort through hundreds of billions of webpages in their search index and present users with the most relevant results, Google uses algorithms. These algorithms look at several factors, including the words used in your search, keywords, relevance and usability of pages, expertise of sources, and your location and settings. Google’s algorithms ensure the best results for your query appear on the first couple of result pages.
Making relatively few major updates each year, Google is known to make hundreds of small updates to their algorithm each year without announcing them ahead of time. These updates typically impact core ranking factors and can cause major shifts in Google’s search results. With each update, Google shifts the formation of search algorithms from the classic, man-made algorithms to machine learning algorithms. While these updates are to improve the user experience, businesses can see shifts in their analytics results. Here’s how these algorithm updates can affect your metrics and how you can combat the effects in a way that is effective for your business.
What Happened with the Last Update?
Google’s most recent updates happened in June of 2019. Their June 2019 Core Update was announced via Twitter this year in an attempt to be more proactive about announcing their larger algorithm updates. Shortly after, Google also announced a Domain Diversity Update which affected the diversity of search engine results pages (SERPs). Both updates affected websites differently depending on how websites have applied the key factors Google looks at when presenting results.
It can take up to 10 days for search results to level out after Google releases a major algorithm update. For this particular update, there were no specific themes or fixes for brands to make on their websites in order to combat any negative impact from this particular update. It also took into account the quality, validity, and usability of a site (i.e. author credibility, content relevancy in relation to search, how user friendly the site is, etc.).
How Do These Changes Affect My Business?
Post algorithm updates, you can expect to see initial fluctuations in search results. As mentioned before, it can take up to 10 days for results to level out, so it’s important to allow some time before panicking or getting too excited.
At Tallwave, we determine if and how our client’s websites were affected by an algorithm update by continuously monitoring keyword visibility. We look at Google’s top 10 search results and overall website traffic, along with analyzing keyword volumes, web pages with increased ranking, and reviewing search terms that have gained and lost visibility. From this information, we can determine a new baseline and decide whether the website is in a better or worse position than before. Here, we’ll start to dissect which content is performing well and which pages could use some work.
What Are My Next Steps?
While Google says there’s no need to make changes or adjustments, we recommend taking a holistic look at your site if you’ve taken a hit post-algorithm update. First, ensure that any articles your business is writing contains credible information written by an industry expert. You wouldn’t trust an article on web development written by an accountant, would you? Next, determine if your site has duplicative, overlapping, or redundant content and consider consolidating into one or fewer articles. Content should be written to serve human readers, rather than to serve a search engine algorithm. Lastly, is your website equipped with an SSL? In other words, would you be comfortable giving your credit card information to your own website? If not, it might be time to make some changes.
Overall, our post-algorithm update advice is to look at the big picture. There are plenty of times in which the issues are entirely external to your website. For example, users evolve and change their behaviors over time. This means they start consuming content in different ways. Always make sure you are considering both external and internal influences in order to get the best understanding of your particular situation. In the end, our number one recommendation for dealing with Google algorithm updates is to cater your content to users, not algorithms. As Google evolves and grows, having high quality, useful content for your users will benefit you in the long run. Have any lingering questions on how Google’s algorithm updates can affect your website, and in turn, your business? Drop us a line. Our search experts are more than happy to answer any questions that come their way.