Almost every day, Google updates its algorithms and systems aiming to improve the user experience with better-informed search results; these are small upgrades and are not noticeable for businesses. But Google also releases significant core updates which impact webmasters, content producers and practically everyone that uses the internet.
Core updates are global, usually rolled out quarterly, and are not specific to any region, language or category of the web, typically the full scale of the algorithm will take two weeks to develop roots across the net.
The Latest Google Core Update
On December 3rd Google rolled out its final update for 2020, even as the third algorithm released this year it was more significant than all previous 2020 updates combined. Instead of the consistent schedule where upgrades are rolled out every three months, the December update took seven months to develop and therefore had a more considerable impact on search rankings.
As with each core update, there are many impacts to the SEO, analytics and rankings of sites. Gaining or losing visibility after an update is impossible to identify because the updates do not target site pages, and there are no specific actions to implement which would recover losses.
“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” Google states in their press statement for 2019.
A helpful way to think about Google’s core updates can be understood through Google’s analogy “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 change naturally. Some new and wonderful movies that never existed before will now be candidates for inclusion. You might also reassess some films and realise they deserved a higher place on the list than they had before.”
This update has already proven to be broad and hard to predict as professionals on online SEO forums, and social media platforms have claimed losses of 40% in Google organic traffic and in contrast some businesses have claimed increases of 150% in Google traffic.
As the updated was timed just before the Christmas period, it could have catastrophic impacts on small businesses who rely on the income from big holiday orders.
Is It Possible to Stay Competitive with Constant Updates?
The landscape of online advertising has shifted based on the unforeseen challenges proposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly as consumers are avoiding physical stores, SEO has never been a more critical business tool to invest in.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the art of ranking high on a search engine without using paid advertising. But how do websites get to the top of search results?
When a user searches, there are two forms of results: paid and organic. A paid result is practically an advertisement – where an owner has paid Google to relate their business to specific keywords. When the paid keywords are searched, their business is guaranteed to be at the top of the search page, should their advertising budget be adequate.
On the other hand, organic results are not influenced by paid marketing. The organic order of websites is not random; instead, websites are ranked by Google according to how relatable the content is to the searched keywords. A website must prove to Google that its content is naturally the most relevant to particular search terms.
With the first five organic search results accounting for 68% of clicks, the competitive field is more challenging than ever. At RGC Digital Marketing, we are dedicated to enforcing creative and competitive content which allows each of our clients to rank at the top spots of Google.
Google will Reward High-Quality and Constant Content
As Google continues with daily updates, it is difficult to predict what will perform well with such mysterious algorithms, however, Google has listed the following tips which may help website owners improve their website rankings, including:
- Does the content provide original information, reporting, research, or analysis?
- Does the content provide a substantial, complete, or comprehensive description of the topic?
- Does the content provide insightful analysis or interesting information that is beyond obvious?
- If the content draws on other sources, does it avoid simply copying or rewriting those sources and instead provide substantial additional value and originality?
- Does the headline and/or page title provide a descriptive, helpful summary of the content?
- Does the headline and/or page title avoid being exaggerating or shocking in nature?
- Is this the sort of page you would want to bookmark, share with a friend, or recommend?
- Would you expect to see this content in or referenced by a printed magazine, encyclopedia, or book?
Overall, the best way for a website to rank higher in search results is to post frequent and relevant content relating to the business. At RGC Digital Marketing, the SEO content services we offer allows each of our clients to rank at the top spots of Google organically, some strategies include:
- Meta Data
Simply put, metadata is a small snippet of information that summarises the content of a web page, displayed below each link on a search page.
The meta snippet is designed to inform the searcher how that particular page is relevant to their needs. The metadata should persuade searchers to click through to the website and read more. Well written metadata which includes high searched keywords will rank higher on Google.
- On-Page Content
On-page content refers to the content that is directly on a website site, such as headlines, content and images. RGC’s professional blog writers analyse industry trends for our clients then produce quality articles centred around the popularly searched keywords.
On-page articles are a great way to facilitate a higher ranking on Google. Such blog posts not only engage consumers on industry and company news but also improves SEO rankings for organic searches, creating broader brand awareness and brand engagement.
Not only is new content favoured by Google, updating your old blog posts with fresh content and images can increase organic traffic by as much as 106%.
- Off-Page Content
Off-page content refers to the activity that drives traffic to your website from other sources than direct search, including guest blogging, social media accounts and any other content sharing from images, videos and articles to third party websites.
Quality backlinks from authoritative sites are the main focus here, as Google’s algorithm favours websites with many backlinks. A thriving Instagram page will be rewarded by Google and push your website higher up the ranks. Websites without backlinks are 91% more likely never to get any organic traffic from Google.
- Electronic Direct Marketing
Electronic Direct Marketing (EDM) is an email marketing tool, where timely and relevant information is distributed to a customer database. This database should be a continually expanding list of existing and potential clients, who have the ability to purchase products and services from a business.
This form of digital marketing allows a company to develop a reliable relationship with clients, which is a cost-effective way to encourage repeat business sales.
So, What’s Next For 2021?
With the most unpredictable year in history coming to an end, what is certain, is website rankings can never be guaranteed. Without constant attention to the site individually and to industry trends, your website could too lose 40% in organic traffic overnight.
Google has already confirmed its next update in 2021, which will change the entire digital marketing landscape as we know it.
The Google Page Experience Update is set to launch in May 2021; the new algorithm will evaluate website content in more depth than ever before, analysing how quickly page loads, if its mobile-friendly, runs on HTTPS, has intrusive interstitials and whether content jumps around as the page loads.
With five months to prepare for the next update, there has never been a more crucial time to invest in organic rankings and web design services.
RGC Digital Marketing is a Digital Marketing Agency in Sydney who provides creative services, web design services, SEO services, digital marketing services, programmatic advertising and many more services to improve the digital presence of our clients online. To learn more about the Digital Marketing Services we provide, please call our expert team on 1300 770 985 today and get ranking!
Author: Ashley Regan-Scherf