Is your first instinct when you hear “Google update” to panic?
If so, you’re not alone. When SEO can mean so much to your business, it is easy to freak out at the mention of a new algorithm update.
Google updates their algorithm hundreds of times each year, and most of the times these changes go unnoticed. But sometimes the changes are bigger.
One of those big updates was the release of Google Penguin on September 23, 2016. It now updates in real time and analyzes websites at a more granular level, devaluing spam rather than affecting the ranking of the entire site.
Penguin wasn’t the first major update to the Google algorithm and it certainly won’t be the last. So what should you do to make sure you’re always ready when the next Google update comes? Read on to find out.
So, what should you do to make sure you’re always ready when the next Google update comes? Read on to find out.
Read on to find out.
It’s been said before, but it’s worth saying again. When a new Google update is released, there is no sense in frantically reading everything you can find on it before any information is even available.
Google is famously quiet about its algorithm updates, so often most of what you’ll find is speculation; that is not what you want to base your business decisions on!
Additionally, updates like Google Penguin are not the be-all-end-all of SEO. Google Penguin is just one of over 200 signals that Google uses to determine rank.
Instead, take a deep breath, and wait until you begin to see results.
Monitoring the Effects of a Google Update
Are you beginning to see changes in the traffic getting to your site? If you’ve been doing SEO the right way, you likely won’t be negatively affected.
All of Google’s updates to their algorithm are attempts to provide end-users with a better product. That means finding ways to weed out SEO web spam and providing users with what they’re actually looking for
So, if you’re already using best SEO practices, you’re probably safe from any negative impacts from a Google update.
If you are beginning to see traffic decreases, don’t despair! It just means that it’s time to get to work on bringing your SEO up to snuff.
The great thing about the new Penguin update is that, since it is real time, improvements you make to your website will be taken into consideration quickly; in the past, it could take months, or even years, before your site was recrawled.
Making Your Website Update-Proof
There’s a number of things you can do to make sure your website will always be ready for a Google update. We’ll go through the top four.
1. Follow The Trends
We don’t mean learning the latest dance moves! Instead, keep up to date and knowledgeable about where web-based technology is going.
For example, it’s projected that by 2020, over a third of the world’s population will own a smartphone.
Google’s algorithm has been updated to reflect the increasingly mobile web. Mobile friendliness was added as a ranking signal in April of 2015.
This means you should start looking into improving your mobile experience (if you haven’t already)! A separate mobile site is recommended, but at the very least ensure that your site displays properly across different devices.
You can bet that Google will continue to update their algorithms to stay in touch with the ways its users are engaging with technology.
2. Answer Your Customer’s Questions
A popular update to the way Google displays its results is the Quick Answer box, which provides an answer to a query, drawn from a website, right on the search page.
If your content is unique and answers a question your customers will be searching for, you could find your website featured in this quick answer box. Considering the top search results gets almost 33% of clicks, making sure your page is the top result is invaluable.
3. Ranking “Old Faithfuls”
The following ranking signals have remained consistently important throughout all of Google’s updates. According to Google’s Andrey Lipattsev, a Search Quality Senior Strategist, the top three most important ranking signals are:
- Content: This is the quality of the content on your page. This includes your SEO optimization.
- Links: The links pointing to your site are an important indicator that you are providing useful, valuable content.
- RankBrain: Google’s artificial intelligence ranking system.
As long as you are providing your best content and making good use of SEO optimization, you should rank well.
We’ve got some tools that can help you make sure your SEO skills are at the top of their game.
4. Move Fast On Mobile and Desktop
The speed at which your site loads can significantly affect your rankings. Make sure that your website is built well so it will load fast for users whether they’re accessing it on a desktop, tablet, or mobile.
You can use Google’s PageSpeed tools to check how your website manages different devices.
4. Encryption and Security
Google wants to see websites that have proper security certificates. Having a HTTPS certificate counts towards your ranking, and this is only going to become more important.
Google spokespeople have said that they want to see HTTPS encryption on all website, so make sure that yours is part of this trend, instead of being left behind.
While currently, your security certificates are only a small ranking signal, Google has said that it is a priority for them, so it is a good idea to invest in this infrastructure now if you want to maintain strong rankings.
Final Thoughts on Google Updates
Now let’s take another deep breath. Hopefully the next time you hear about a Google update, it won’t feel completely overwhelming. You’ve got some steps you can take to ensure your website will weather whatever Google throws at you in the future.
But, if you want some help bringing up the quality of your content and SEO–remember, one of the most important ranking signals–we’re always happy to help!
Have Google updates affected your website? Still feeling unsure, or want to share your experiences updating your website? Get in touch with us and let us know your thoughts!