In August 2018, Google confirmed the rollout of a new broad core algorithm update. While Google changes its search algorithm around 500-600 times a year, most of the changes are minor and do not affect search results. However, this update represents the most significant change since Google Penguin in 2012 and has already affected search results and therefore the flow of website traffic.
By Kate Everett, Managing Partner at The Write Impression
This Google algorithm update has since been nicknamed the ‘medic update’ as many health, and medical sites have been affected – such as NHS Wales. However, it is important to note that many sites’ Search Engine Results Page (SERP) have been affected – so don’t rule out your company just because it doesn’t fall into this industry. For example, jewellery retailer Pandora has also experienced a change in traffic to its website.
SERPs are web pages served to users when they search for something online using a search engine like Google. SERPs typically contain two types of content – organic and paid.
As always, Google is very vague with the exact features of the new algorithm update. Google’s Danny Sullivan simply stated ‘’it’s broad. And respectfully, I think telling people there’s no particular thing to ‘fix’ is indeed helpful. It means, hopefully, they will think more broadly…’’
With this information and some expertise from the SEO community, we have summarised what you need to focus on to keep free traffic flowing to your website!
1. Google’s E-A-T acronym
E-A-T stands for expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness and plays a huge part in Google’s new site quality guidelines. Google wants to ensure the information provided by companies has been written by people with the appropriate expertise to ensure customers are not put in danger from misleading information. The emphasis on E-A-T is perhaps the reason why health and medical sites have been affected as information provided by these industries could have a risk to people’s health.
Go through your website and remove content that is unclear or could be confusing for someone who is not a professional in the industry. Make sure guides and blog are updated regularly and follow any new rules and regulations
2. Content, content, content
Make sure your site’s content is informative and useful to the customer. The more industry or niche specific your content is, the better your rankings are likely to be. An FAQ is helpful for people that want to find answers quickly, and the questions may even rank organically as more and more people now write (or ask) questions to Google. FAQs can also be expanded into blogs to provide an even deeper more informative answer.
3. Include an ‘about’ page:
Writing a short description about your company and its employees will show Google that you are an authority on your subject and you’re not just trying to sell products and services. Talk about your expertise, your experience in the industry and reference to other articles, case studies and testimonials to provide examples of your work.
4. Give a little back
Include ‘how to’ articles, product guides and free downloads to assist the customer if they need additional help or more information. Again, these features will help to boost SEO, especially if you are answering questions regularly typed into Google. Customers are also likely to share this type of content with their friends if they found it helpful.
5. User experience (UX)
Identify your target audience and keep them in mind when designing/updating your website so you can meet their needs. Make sure your page is easy to navigate and not crammed with images and information, a navigation bar is essential and white space will help provide flow and a clean, professional look. Include relevant surface, or through links on landing pages to show Google that your content is informative and authoritative, this could help build domain ownership on a particular topic.
6. Remember, there’s no ‘quick fix.’
It may take some time before you start seeing SEO improvements, so it is crucial that you don’t give up. After optimising your website make sure it is updated regularly and keywords are used throughout to increase your chance of ranking higher.
7. Slow mo is a no go
When it comes to providing information, a service or selling products online, speed matters. Customers expect to be able to find what they want in a timely convenient manner. Just think, can one of my customers book an appointment or buy a product while sipping their morning coffee on the way to work? If that answer is no, you need to look into how you can improve your sites speed and usability.
8. Keep mobile simple
When it comes to mobile, think of touchscreen users. Small text with lots of different links and images just simply isn’t going to work. Directions and contact details need to be clear so the customer can find information or place an order quickly – don’t be tempted to force them to visit multiple pages to find what they are looking for as they are more likely to leave altogether! If you are an e-commerce site, make sure product images are not crammed onto the page, try to limit two products per row. You are almost certain to experience a penalty from Google if your site is not mobile-friendly.
9. Integrate social media
If people like your content they will want to share it on their social media. Make sure you have links to your social media on the home page, blogs and videos. Whilst Google has not confirmed if social shares affect a company’s webpage position in search listings, your social media profile itself can be in amongst the top search results if the content is on point.
10. Encourage customer reviews
Build your company trust by making reviews present on the appropriate landing pages; they are often seen on the ‘about page’ or under products to help the customer on their decision-making journey. The better and more informative the displayed reviews the more trustworthy your business is likely to be thus improving your authority and ranking. Don’t be too scared of negative reviews, a diverse array of opinions will help to verify the legitimacy of your business. Respond appropriately, and the odd negative review shouldn’t affect your SEO.
Ranking on Google for key search terms can be massively beneficial for your business. By keeping on top of the changes and updates made by Google, you can ensure your business maintains and increases traffic to its website. If you need help implementing these changes, contact one of a friendly team on [email protected], and we can help you to achieve SEO success.