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Google Core Algorithm Updates and Your Business’ Online Presence

If you closely monitor how well your website ranks on Google search, you may have heard or even been affected by one of the so-called Google core algorithm updates in the past. If you have ever used the services of an SEO agency, you may have seen these Google core algorithm updates mentioned in your reports. At the time of writing, on the 12th of August 2022, the most recent Google core update was rolled out in May 2022. In this post, we look at what Google core algorithm updates are, how often they can occur, their purpose, Google’s own stance on the matter, and how your business could be affected as well as next steps you may be able to take if it is.

Continue reading to learn more, or if you would rather outsource having to deal with and worry about Google updates to a professional, give your local SEO Brisbane experts at Resurge Digital a call on 1300 659 035, e-mail us at [email protected] or get in touch online today.

What is a Google Core Update?

Several times per year, Google search engineers make improvements to the overall ranking processes and update how Google Search works to bring more relevant search results to its users. These substantial changes to how Google ranks websites and their pages are referred to as core updates.

Why Are These Updates Necessary?

The number of websites and pages on the web is continuously growing, making it increasingly difficult to show users who search the internet using Google the most relevant and highest quality content available. As web grows and changes, web search providers such as Google have to keep up with it to best answers those searches. Google provides an excellent analogy for this process:

One way to think of how a core update operates is to imagine you made a list of the top 100 movies in 2015. A few years later in 2019, you refresh the list. It’s going to naturally change. Some new and wonderful movies that never existed before will now be candidates for inclusion. You might also reassess some films and realize they deserved a higher place on the list than they had before.

How Frequent are Google Core Updates?

Google has only recently started providing an official core algorithm update timeline. Although this information goes only as far back as January 13, 2020, it makes it clear that we can expect to see these Google core updates to occur several times per any given year. In 2021 alone, there were 10 officially confirmed Google core updates.

How Can a Core Algorithm Update Affect the Online Presence of a Business?

There are three possible outcomes we typically see as a result of Google updating its ranking algorithms:

  • A significant decrease in some or all keyword rankings, and a subsequent drop in traffic, potentially resulting in fewer sales or enquiries.
  • No noticeable or only slight changes.
  • A noticeable improvement to all or some keyword rankings, and a possible improvement to the commercial outcomes generated by your website.

Why does this happen? As per Google’s own explanation:

There’s nothing wrong with pages that may perform less well in a core update. They haven’t violated our webmaster guidelines nor been subjected to manual or algorithmic action, as can happen to pages that do violate those guidelines. In fact, there’s nothing in a core update that targets specific pages or sites. Instead, the changes are about improving how our systems assess content overall. These changes may cause some pages that were previously under-rewarded to do better.

What to Do If Your Website Is Negatively Affected?

Google is not exceptionally transparent on how exactly its algorithms change when a core update is released and there is a very good reason for that. If this information was public, and if everyone knew exactly what to do to rank at the top for any given keyword, everyone would try to do exactly that, making it impossible to rank web pages in any order at all.

The official advice provided is therefore limited, but not non-existent. For one, Google recommends to focus on content and building high-quality websites. How does Google assess quality? They broadly summarise their mindset for assessing the quality of web content in the following set of questions, that can be used as a guide for improving a website:

  • Would you trust the information presented in this article?
  • Is this article written by an expert or enthusiast who knows the topic well, or is it more shallow in nature?
  • Does the site have duplicate, overlapping, or redundant articles on the same or similar topics with slightly different keyword variations?
  • Would you be comfortable giving your credit card information to this site?
  • Does this article have spelling, stylistic, or factual errors?
  • Are the topics driven by genuine interests of readers of the site, or does the site generate content by attempting to guess what might rank well in search engines?
  • Does the article provide original content or information, original reporting, original research, or original analysis?
  • Does the page provide substantial value when compared to other pages in search results?
  • How much quality control is done on content?
  • Does the article describe both sides of a story?
  • Is the site a recognized authority on its topic?
  • Is the content mass-produced by or outsourced to a large number of creators, or spread across a large network of sites, so that individual pages or sites don’t get as much attention or care?
  • Was the article edited well, or does it appear sloppy or hastily produced?
  • For a health related query, would you trust information from this site?
  • Would you recognize this site as an authoritative source when mentioned by name?
  • Does this article provide a complete or comprehensive description of the topic?
  • Does this article contain insightful analysis or interesting information that is beyond obvious?
  • Is this the sort of page you’d want to bookmark, share with a friend, or recommend?
  • Does this article have an excessive amount of ads that distract from or interfere with the main content?
  • Would you expect to see this article in a printed magazine, encyclopedia or book?
  • Are the articles short, unsubstantial, or otherwise lacking in helpful specifics?
  • Are the pages produced with great care and attention to detail vs. less attention to detail?
  • Would users complain when they see pages from this site?

In reality though, just following these guiding questions may not necessarily result in the expected ranking recovery if your website was negatively affected by a core update. Your business’ best interests are unlikely to be a focus for Google, or any other search engine for that matter, however your SEO provider will have a vested interest in ensuring that your website delivers the best possible commercial outcomes for you. By default, SEOs need to keep up with algorithm changes as a part of the services they provide to their clients. The advantage of engaging the services of an SEO expert is the experience they bring to the table, which will include dealing with past core updates. Core algorithm updates are a normal part of the SEO process and so is dealing with them.

Give our experts a call. At Resurge Digital, we are the digital marketing agency Brisbane business owners trust to keep their best interests at the forefront. Dial 1300 659 035, e-mail [email protected] or contact us online for professional help with getting the most of your online presence.

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