Every day, Google makes minor amendments to its search engine’s algorithms, which are designed to improve a user’s search results. Several times a year, Google will release a broad core algorithm update which can have a more noticeable impact for certain website owners.
Search algorithms are the computer science behind Google and are the method the engine uses to locate and rank your website on the search engine results pages (commonly referred to as SERPs). When Google updates an algorithm significantly, this can potentially shift your current search rankings for a number of keywords.
It also goes without saying that Google is the world’s most popular search engine. Even if its not your preference, it’s important to stay up to date with all the major algorithm changes or at least be aware of how they can impact your business and its ranking factors.
The most recent of these large updates, released on March 12th 2019, is officially called the “March 2019 Core Update” but more commonly known as “Florida 2”.
As the 2019 Google algorithm update has only recently been implemented, it is difficult at this stage to understand the repercussions for a specific website, positive or negative. After all, the 2019 algorithm changes are not made publicly available by Google (that would be like cheating!). They like to keep you on your toes, which is why it is important for businesses to investigate the effects of these changes over time to see if anything is negatively impacting the site. It can take some time to analyse the data and perhaps even longer to implement effective modifications to your site.
In time, as the website owner or admin, you may start to notice a rise or decline in organic traffic and ranking. You may find that you gain better exposure to a geographical area or demographic. On the other hand, the 2019 Google algorithm update may not affect your website at all. You won’t know unless you investigate!
It’s important to note that certain niches or verticals are sometimes more affected than others. In August 2018, Google rolled out one of its core algorithm updates, dubbed the "medic update". Within a few weeks of this update, people began to detect and share changes in their website’s analytics data. Some data sources suggest that the Health and E-Commerce sectors were affected most and some businesses may even still be working to remedy any negative effects. In some cases, businesses weren’t “penalised” in their search rankings—it was simply that their competition was deemed more relevant than before.
The first port of call should be Google Analytics or your SEO specialist. You’ll then be able to gain some insight into how your website may have been affected. If there are indeed significant changes in your website’s search ranking and statistics and you are serious about SEO, then it might be a good opportunity to invest in optimising your site.
Our advice is simple: continue to build a site that people want to visit. It’s not about trying to cheat the algorithm—it’s about providing the best experience and the best solutions to the appropriate search queries. But how do you do this?
Create fresh, engaging and relevant content that is unique: You are more likely to be ranked and more frequently indexed by Google if your website is regularly updated with relevant, good quality content. Google prefers to show users a website that is active than a website which could potentially have out-of-date information. You may need to revisit key landing pages to ensure they are still optimised.
The content also needs to respond to the searchers question or requirements, offering them something of value. Duplicate content and keywords will also not suffice here. Not only will you be placing your website in competition with itself, but the value of the content is diluted and this will be reflected by lower rankings in Google.
Ensure your website is structured and easy to navigate: If people can easily get to the pages they want within a few clicks then this will benefit the user experience and also make it much easier for Google to crawl your website and index it.
Fix broken links: Google is dedicated to providing search engine users with pages that are the most relevant to their search. If the links on your page lead to nowhere or to deleted content, Google will not deem it relevant and will not want to provide their users with a bad experience. Eventually, your site will lose ranking, and we don’t want that!
Prioritise website optimisation for mobile users: Prior to the 2019 algorithm update, Google switched to a mobile-first policy. This means its search algorithms focus on how your website performs on a mobile device first before the desktop site. If your website does not load quickly or does not provide a decent user experience on mobile, your search engine ranking will suffer.
Have a good online presence: Google treats high-quality links to your site as a sign of endorsement. The more high-quality endorsements your site has, the better it must be! However, just like your content, these links need to also be relevant and genuine.
Switch to a secure HTTPS site if you haven’t already: HTTPS means that you are a registered, verified company and that the connection between the browser and the server is encrypted. This is particularly important when making online purchases and dealing with personal data. Google is now inclined to providing search engine users with secure browsing experiences rather than insecure ones. If you can make the switch, it is worth it in the long run.
Google's algorithm updates, major or not, make the Google search engine experience better for us as users. However, this means that the SEO landscape is constantly changing. There is unfortunately no quick fix for SEO. It requires expert knowledge and constant refining and monitoring to achieve positive results.
Why not take a look at our Search Engine Optimisation Page for further information. Alternatively, give us a call today to see how we can help you optimise your website.