Search engines require regular updates every few months to ensure that quality content and up-to-date pages are put first, and deceptive or spam-filled pages drop further down the list. Whilst these updates do not target specific sites or types of content, many businesses will experience changes in the way they are ranked in search results.
Google rolled out two new releases in June and July this year. It is important to be aware of when these updates occur, because it allows you to understand whether changes to your visitor traffic are organic, or due to other external factors.
What have the recent changes affected?
Google rarely says what is involved during an update to it’s algorithms. However, this summer they did shed a little light on what some of these updates contained.
One priority was to target content that makes slanderous/unverified claims about other people. For example, websites that produce a lot of fake news should expect to see a fall in their rankings.
Websites that contain content that have no value to the visitor are now being deemed “thin sites”. There are a number of factors that will determine whether a site is categorised in this way, such as poorly arranged information or deliberately misleading titles. These “thin sites” are now being picked up by the latest update to Google and being ranked lower by the search engine.
Another element being recognised in the latest updates is Scraper Spam. These sites use AI tools to spot highly ranked SEO pages and merge them into one page to gain traffic. The site then generates cash by displaying pop up ads.
All of these updates have been implemented to ensure that genuine, informative sites rank higher than their less genuine counterparts.
However, these updates may inadvertently affect websites that are not optimised correctly or have a poor layout.
Getting the most from the latest Google updates
Google won’t reveal the exact factors that make a website appear on the first page of a search, but if you realise that your website has slipped in your rankings there are several things you can check:
Google Analytics - Set up your Google Analytics to properly monitor activity. This will also help steer your overall marketing strategy.
Relevance - Ensure all the content on your website is relevant and useful for any potential visitor.
Check your page speed - Do your pages load in under 3 seconds?
Relevant keywords - Make sure you are targeting the most relevant keywords for your business. (A keyword is a word or group of words that best describes a web page or a blog post. When a user types that word/phrase into a search engine they should then find that page/post on your website.)
Regular content - Regularly updating your site with new relevant content, such as blog posts.
SEO maintenance - Ongoing SEO maintenance and regularly checking technical performance is also a key factor in keeping your website from slipping down the rankings.
Back links - Building links from other sites, known as back links, is another great way to improve your ranking position.
Responsive design - Does your website automatically change page format to suit a mobile device?
Easy to navigate - Is your site easy for your visitors to find their way around?
If you have realised that your site isn’t gathering as much traction since the summer, the above tips may help you determine the cause of your falling rankings.
Are you concerned that your website is under-performing? Our team can carry out a complimentary website audit for you to better understand areas that can be improved.