There is nothing permanent except change
Surprisingly, this quote by Heraclitus, an ancient Greek philosopher, is also relevant when it comes to Google Core Updates. The company introduces them regularly in order to perfect the search engine. As a publisher, it’s crucial to have a good understanding of these updates and know what to do if they affect your website’s position on search result pages. Rest assured, if such a situation arises, we’ve got some solutions for you!
What is Google Core Update
Google Core Update is a major update to the Google search system and algorithm that happens a few times a year. While smaller changes may occur frequently, a Core Update is a bigger one that website owners should be aware of. It has the potential to impact a website’s visibility on SERP (Search Engine Results Page). Unfortunately, Google doesn’t offer precise details on the specific areas that have been altered during these changes. Nonetheless, when you unexpectedly experience a drop or rise in the search rankings, you may deduce that your site’s position has been impacted by the update. Typically, several ones are performed each year, spaced several months apart. In 2023, there were four core updates – in March, August, October, and December. After announcing the new Core Update, it usually takes up to two weeks to fully complete “the rollout”. Fluctuations in search rankings are expected during this time!
In order to stay up to date with the latest ranking-related incidents, check the ranking history in the Google Search Status Dashboard. There, you will find not only information about the Core Update but also ongoing issues and minor updates, as well as the dates they first occurred and their duration. After clicking the incident name on the list, you will be redirected to a page where you can see more details.
Road to ranking recovery
It’s important to note that these changes are not aimed at specific publishers or websites but are meant to improve the search engine’s overall experience for the users. An incidental outcome of such measures could result in a drop or increase in the page’s position in the ranking. Nevertheless, there are several actions recommended by Google that you can take. While Google doesn’t assure 100% effectiveness, following these tips will not cause harm and will only contribute to making your corner of the web more valuable and refined:
- Analyze suspicious changes in traffic, rankings, and user behavior on your site, this way, you can identify which sites may have been affected. For this task, use tools like Google Analytics, Google Search Console, or other SEO analytics tools;
- Prioritize the user on your website. Building your website in line with the User Experience rules is essential in order to succeed in today’s competitive digital landscape. Apart from thoughtful design and website accessibility, it’s advisable to focus on responsive design (so your website will look equally good on a computer screen, tablet, or smaller mobile devices). Additionally, familiarize yourself with the concept of Core Web Vitals so that you can check and, in case of bad results, improve things like loading speed, interactivity, and visual stability;
- SEO is also essential! However, Google reminds us that content should be created for people, not for the sole purpose of appearing high in the search results list. So, create valuable content and apply proven SEO strategies, including using proper keywords and internal and external linking;
- Provide E-E-A-T content on your website. In other words, all your texts, images, or videos should serve a specific purpose, be double-checked, and verified. What’s more, to make people trust you more, you should, among others, link only to reliable sources. Additionally, keep in mind that Google (when creating their rankings), pays particular attention to the “Your Money or Your Life” topics such as health, finances, or safety;
- Try your best to provide your audience with great content that’s intriguing, original, fresh, up-to-date, and grammatically and stylistically correct. Yes, it might be a lot, but remember that competition can be fierce! To speed up the process, you can, for instance, use AI tools, some of which are ideal for copywriting challenges. Also, don’t rewrite content that already exists, and always add value when compared to other sources elaborating on similar topics. Take your time and read and analyze your content before its release;
- Check if your site is trustworthy – in other words, see if it has all the conditions to be perceived as such. Do you provide an image of an expert that’s easy to verify by your audience? Among others, you can design an “About me” page, where you will include your short biography (and maybe even an educational background connected to the main theme of your website). Besides, remember that no matter what subjects you cover, your content should be written (or at least verified) by someone who knows the ropes;
- Speaking of expertise, it’s much better to focus on one niche than try to cover all the topics you think the search engine will prioritize. Act as an expert in a field you already know a lot about;
- Make sure that your content is not misleading: ask yourself a question whether the main headline is not misleading or exaggerated, and provides a description of what is below it. Also, please, don’t change the dates of your articles’ if no, or only minor changes were made;
- Last but not least, be genuine about your content creation – if you generate it using automation and AI to some extent, do you communicate that fact? Google advises that you shouldn’t hide it, especially in case the audience might be wondering if artificial intelligence was, in fact, used;
- Lastly, remember the purpose of your content. Ultimately, it should bring value to people who consume it and be in line with the users’ search intent. Try not to let them down by not answering a question in a headline or by not thoroughly explaining the topic. Your audience can be disappointed if, after reading your content, they don’t possess enough knowledge and have to look further!
After all, it’s worth acknowledging that Google’s ranking system is intricate and takes into account many factors. Although Google announces its policies, it’s impossible to determine the exact rules “of the game”. Therefore, one of the best approaches is to put yourself in the shoes of your target audience and create content that you find valuable or engaging and worth their time.
Monetize your efforts!
In case you notice unexpected drops in your website’s search rankings, there’s no need to panic! If your website has good SEO practices applied and is well-optimized, valuable, and up-to-date – chances are it will eventually regain its position in the search rankings even after updates.
The ranking of your website is crucial as it determines the visibility of your website and the number of potential visitors it can attract. Then, if you decide to generate income from adding ads to it, it’ll have a huge importance – the larger your audience, the greater the potential revenue. That’s why it’s crucial to prioritize your website’s quality and User Experience to ensure user satisfaction and maintain a high position in the search rankings. Once you have that all – go on, and monetize your website!