Surviving Google Algorithm Changes

Digital marketers and the clients they work with understand the importance of good content (or, they should). But quality content does much more than selling a product or help a company engage with new and existing customers.

Quality content drives everything—your search rankings, your brand, and your business’s overall online presence. And this revelation arrives from none other than the cornerstone of SEO – Google – and the monster search engine’s algorithm updates.

For years, Google has said that value-driven, well-written content is the foundation of SEO—far beyond mere keywords that simply repeat over and over again in order to boost search rankings. Truly well-written content that reflects who you are and is valuable to customers will be far more impactful and drive traffic to your site and help you survive Google algorithm changes.

content is the solution to google algorithm changes

Google Algorithm Changes And Why They Matter

If you follow the happenings of the search engine world, you’ve heard of Google algorithm updates, which are improvements Google makes to their search function regularly. Google started rolling out these updates in 2003 with the first “Florida Update” that killed rankings of spammy websites (rolled out in November right before the holiday season!). These updates continue to be a key indicator of how well Google’s search engine filters are performing.

This is done through a complex system of data retrieval in order to generate the best possible results for a search.

At first, the Silicon Valley company only did a handful of updates; now there are thousands of updates rolled out each year. Most are tiny and barely noticeable, but others are significant.

Below is a summary of a few of the more infamous algo updates:

  • Google rolled out the Panda refresh in 2011. This was in response to the then-growing popularity of “content farms”, or websites that were high in keywords but low in quality, original thought, or value to users (remember eHow or Demand Studios?) The main purpose of these sites was to satisfy various algorithms in the search rankings, but they were essentially the SPAM of the search engine world. Writers have long been cautioned against working for these content farms, as the companies expect high amounts of output but pay very little. The Panda update was applied to all English queries worldwide—not just English-speaking countries—and stronger filters were implemented.
  • In 2012, Google rolled out the webspam algorithm update, later officially named the Penguin update (no one is really sure where this name came from). Penguin was an extension of where the Panda update left off—it essentially rewarded high-quality websites and dropped sites with thin or irrelevant content clearly jam-packed with keywords down in the rankings. This filter evidently affected 3.1% of English language search engine queries.
  • The March 2019 core update was the first algorithm update to have an official name—it was appropriately titled the “March 2019 Core Update”. This update impacted websites that focus on sensitive topics, particularly healthcare.
  • For the first time ever, the search engine announced the rollout of a major core Google algorithm change in advance (later known as the June 2019 core update). It was different from previous updates in that it was a broad core algorithm update, which means the central search filter (the heart of those millions and millions of queries entered into Google) was updated.

The algorithm updates are meant to refine search results, boost the credibility of quality sites, and minimize the “spammy” sites. After each of these large-scale updates was completed, webmasters for the lower-quality sites saw significant drops in traffic and ranking shifts.

One winner in these updates? Big brands, who saw greater-than-average boosts in traffic. Search engine professionals, including journalists, continue to monitor these trends.

Google Algorithm Changes – What Does This All Mean?”

Digital and traditional marketers have said for years that quality content is critical, but it bears repeating. It’s so critical because it improves the user experience on many different levels—not just from a keyword standpoint.

It touches them on a personal level, deepens their professional knowledge base, or teaches them something new. Sure, a business wants their site to have a prominent place in the search engine results, but a combination of content with little value and a ranking update might mean your site will see less traffic. Don’t let that happen!

So how do we create content that connects and converts?

Following are some three tips that will make your content stand out:

1. Feel The Reader’s Pain

Readers want useful content—it’s as simple and as difficult as that. Blogs are a great place to engage with readers regularly.

Blog posts that are scheduled consistently, touch on your readers’ pain points, and have strong SEO keywords should generate the type of web traffic you’re seeking.

Other tips to help your blog stand out and connect with readers:

  • Include 1-2 long-tail keywords that are relevant to your key reader
  • Make sure your blog is mobile-friendly. Assume most of your readers will be checking out your content on their devices.
  • Keep content updated. We get that it’s hard to keep coming up with new ideas for blog posts, but the good thing is you don’t necessarily have to. Go back to older posts and find a new spin on the same topics to keep them current.

survive google algorithm changes with quality content

2.  Meet Readers Where They Are

Who are your customers, and how can your business specifically help them? What sets your product or service apart from your competitors? One way to narrow this down is to do some buyer persona research. By assuming the role of your target customer and learning more about them, this helps to develop content that speaks to them directly.

3. Offer Content Solutions In Different Ways

One of the best things about digital marketing is the many ways to reach your audience. Perhaps a text-heavy blog post is not the most effective way to convey your message.

Consider an infographic to present data-heavy information in a way that’s easier to digest. Or, produce a video in order to give customers a behind-the-scenes look at how your company makes its widgets and/or how these widgets are used in the wider world. The possibilities are truly endless for creating content that connects.

Concluding Thoughts

Again, quality content is what makes companies thrive online. Yes, technical SEO such as page speed and having a mobile-friendly website must be addressed, but if the website’s content is not remarkable, and focused too much on the company versus the audience, your website’s rankings will continue to suffer.

Google teams are constantly tweaking their algorithms in an attempt to kill the rankings of websites that at zero value to the readers. Don’t become part of that statistic – create quality content and keep your audience engaged and happy, and Google will reward you.



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