I often talk about Facebook’s algorithm changes, but did you notice that Google is constantly making them, too?
Google doesn’t tend to be as obvious about it as Facebook is (largely in part because they make anywhere from 500 to 600 of these updates annually), but once in awhile they roll out a major change, which can have a huge impact on marketers and brands.
The latest Google algorithm update, dubbed a “broad, global, core update” happened on Aug. 1. Analysis conducted on the update seems to show that it impacts primarily health and medical focused sites, as well as “your money your life – YMYL” sites, on topics including purchasing a home or a vehicle.
Google search liaison Danny Sullivan also confirmed this is a “global” rollout, impacting all Google search results, no matter what language or region.
Why does Google make these updates?
Google is not the bad guy. Google does not implement these updates to make your life as a marketer or brand more difficult. However, it is their goal to ensure the user experience is top-notch.
After all, it’s their business to make sure they are the No. 1 ranking search engine. Otherwise, they would be Bing or Ask Jeeves.
So, when Google makes an algorithm change, it’s simply because they’ve found a better way to elevate the user experience. By improving your user experience, it brings more traffic to their search engine, which allows them to further monetize through ads.
So how do we work around these updates?
First of all, SEO is very complicated, and if you try to “win” it right away by overthinking and overanalyzing each update, you’ll be in for a long game of cat and mouse.
Chances are, in your quest to win the small game, you could even miss the end goal, which is just to improve the user experience of every visitor to your website and social media.
Which brings us to our first strategy:
1. Focus on your client, on your customer and on your target audience
…and work to provide content that is geared to them, that they will find valuable and interesting, and strive to improve the user experience of your site. Your sites (both website and social) should be intuitive, engaging and always updated with fresh content and resources. Naturally this will keep people coming back to you and will tell Google that you’re worth promoting through their ranks. Eventually your sites will rank higher.
2. Always be updating your website and social media content.
Although the formulas for Google’s algorithms are tightly guarded (with employees signing non-disclosure agreements, it’s unlikely we’ll ever know exactly what’s up) and they are notoriously hush-hush on the connection between social media and Google rankings, it’s widely accepted that the correlation between social signals and ranking position is very high. There is a correlation for social success and success on Google – if you create valuable, organic content, it’s likely to be popular on social, which causes people to “like” it, click on it and share it, boosting your rankings and traffic.
Google any big brand or business, and often it’s their social pages that show up first.
What’s an advertiser to do? Create content, post regularly, build your audience and have a blog that you share regularly to social. Couple it with paid advertising on both Google and Facebook.
Don’t neglect your content archives, either. If you already have a blog, go back once a year and “prune” any content that could use some refreshing and optimizing. It’s a good way to update your content, while ensuring that users will still find the content useful and satisfying even if they land on it in the future. It all comes back to optimizing the user experience.
3. Consider going international.
Just like Pitbull, you might want to go international – if it’s the right fit for your brand or business. It might be hard for us to fathom, but the majority of people on planet Earth actually don’t speak English. This is where your opportunity lies to dominate your field on Google: in non-English speaking countries. If you have the kind of brand or business where this could be an option for you, it’s a great way to provide value to your clients in other countries; allowing them to read your website in their native language. There’s way less competition, so your site could do better, for less money.
Plus, Google prefers brands, simply because customers tend to trust them more. The bigger, the better.
4. Fix any broken links or media files.
Just think about it. If you were reading this story and I provided you with a link that went nowhere, how would you feel about it? Likely a bit disappointed and certainly unimpressed. It would diminish your user experience and likely cause you to lose trust in me as a digital marketer.
It might sound simple, but you’ll want to clean house at least a few times a year. There are even different apps available online that can help you uncover any that aren’t in working order – just ask me, and I’m happy to share them with you.
In short, if you want to come out as a winner even when Google rolls out new changes, it’s best you focus on providing the ultimate user experience and content for your target audience.
Pay attention to your website traffic, regularly update your content (and make it as interesting, social and valuable as possible) on your website and social media and ensure your user experience is nothing short of world-class.
It’s like most things in life.
Understand theirs but focus on your own game – and you’ll come out on top.