Casual internet browsers might not have noticed any changes recently when conducting organic internet searches. But if you have a website, run an eCommerce business, or are a content writer, you’ll want to look closely at your search results.
For many years, Google’s Search engine has relied heavily on several factors when generating search results in response to a query. SEO and keywords were primary factors, along with the page’s usability, location, sources used, and the overall quality of the page content contributing factors.
Knowing how Google views and subsequently ranks your website is vital to ensure your site stays relevant and on the first page of search results. So, understandably, the release of the Google Core Algorithm Update, announced on September 12, 2022, concerns everyone with a web presence.
Critical Changes to the Google Core Algorithm Update
According to Google, the primary purpose of the Core Algorithm Update is to ensure a better service to users by providing relevant content in response to search queries. To do this, Google updates its search engine function numerous times throughout the year.
Although Google’s updates are standard, the most recent changes to the Core Algorithm appear to have much more effect on sites that previously ranked well. Google has stated that many sites will initially see rankings drop. Further, SEO and link quality have very little to do with the changes in page rankings. Instead, the Core Algorithm Update relies heavily on the relevance of the content on a page.
Previous and current evaluation process changes have decreased the number of irrelevant results returned in a search by 40%. – Search Engine Journal
What To Expect From The September Update
Site owners, the SEO community, and content contributors should not panic; simply make the content on your site more relevant. Here’s a more in-depth look at some of the more recent changes that are a part of the Google Core Algorithm Update:
- An automated system that determines the value of product reviews.
- A determination if the content on a page is mobile-friendly.
- A more substantial relevance related to “Helpful Content” that is original, helpful, and delivers a satisfying user experience. (Note: this is part of the Helpful Content update released September 9 but remains a part of the newest Core Update.)
- A focus on content created first for people, rather than SEO-based content created first for search engines.
Making Your Content Relevant
As with prior Core Algorithm Updates, Google hasn’t released much information about specific things site owners and content creators must do to ensure strong performance on the search engine. They have, however, put forth somewhat of a guide containing questions one should ask if they see their pages losing ground in search results.
Based on the questions Google wants you to ask yourself, a combination of original, informative, valuable, and engaging content will play a significant role in how Google views websites and web pages.
Some of the questions are:
- Does the content provide original information, reporting, research, or analysis?
- Does the content provide a substantial, complete, or comprehensive description of the topic?
- If you researched the site producing the content, would you assume it is well-trusted or widely recognized as an authority on its topic?
- If the content draws on other sources, does it avoid copying or rewriting those sources and provide substantial additional value and originality instead?
- Would you feel comfortable trusting this content for issues relating to your money or your life?
- Does the headline or page title provide a descriptive, helpful content summary?
- Is the content free from spelling or stylistic issues?
- Is this a page you’d want to bookmark, share with a friend, or recommend?
- Does the content have excessive ads that distract from or interfere with the main content?
- Does the content provide substantial value when compared to other pages in search results?
These questions and others are similar to the advice provided in previous years by Google. The update will provide a better user experience, not relying on SEO but on the content’s quality.
How Do These Updates Play Into SEO?
It’s too early to tell how these changes will play out in the long run until the Google Core Algorithm Update fully hits its stride. However, since the last Core Updates have significantly affected past SEO work, it is probably a reasonable assumption that this update will also. Interestingly, some early reports show a significant drop in website traffic but no fundamental changes in SERPs. This could be attributed to the fact that SERPs are still possibly retaining their position based on SEO but losing traffic based on relevance related to non-targeted keyword searches.
It’s also important to remember that some of your pages may not necessarily be bad content if they begin to suffer from poorer performance. A drop in search engine results could simply be because previous pages that didn’t perform well now appear more relevant than your own. So, once again, ensuring that your site contains relevant, engaging, and original content is equivalent to achieving a favorable ranking.
Let’s Work Together
What is certain is that this new update will change how Google views your website and how we will utilize SEO in the future. Our team stays on top of every update to ensure that no site falls behind.
If your site needs to be spruced up, refreshed, or reviewed to ensure it stays compliant with Google’s ever-changing algorithm, contact us today and let’s work together to make your page the best it can be!