Google’s Core Update: A Shift in the SERPs

If you’re not already aware, Google just recently rolled out a core update for its Algorithm. Google core updates are designed to affect the algorithm that impacts main organic search. This determines search results, who will rank, and where. Naturally, there will be winners and losers whenever Google makes changes. Some early indicators include tabloid newspapers that have lost up to a fifth of the visibility.

Digital-first publishers (those who choose to publish content first in digital content format) seem to be realizing gains in both the US and UK. Another notable development is that Google appears to be fueling its own interests by giving less importance to lyric sites and snippet dictionaries. They also seem to be increasing visibility via YouTube.

It appears that Google’s updates are not as scary as the Penguin and Panda days. This works for the large number of SEO professionals who make marketing decisions based on best practices. However, a number of SEO professionals have complained that Google seems a bit cryptic about the rollout with a less than stellar explanation of what to expect.

Separating the Winners from the Losers

Of course, some domains will gain visibility, and others will lose it, but the new update is not a penalty update. Also, it’s important to note that if your site has lost some visibility, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ve done anything wrong.

If you have lost visibility, don’t panic. The worst thing you can do after an update is start changing everything. Wait a month or two; the state of the SERPs is in flux right now, and it takes a bit to even out. Just keep serving up great content. You can always depend on good content to help keep your site from plummeting too far down in rank.

Algorithm changes continue to focus on the most relative content with respect to user queries. Remember, relevant content will provide the information people are looking for.

While changes will occur across the industry, websites with the following challenges will experience the biggest negative hits on traffic:

  • Thin content, blog posts with lower word counts, should notice the biggest changes. As stated, Google is drilling down to make sure site owners are offering relevant content.
  • If your content is less than rich, expect to take a hit at some future date going forward. “Fluff,” more than ever, will be weeded out from search results. If your website has lots of older content, and it will if you’ve been on the job, it will need to be refreshed somehow. That’s going to take effort and commitment on your behalf. Run analytics to find out how those blog pages are performing.
  • Poor quality content includes poor grammar, misspelled words, awkard typos, and forms of unnatural language. A lot of this can be found in older posts on websites. These days blogs and articles should be written with SEO and future value in mind.
  • Outdated content can be a killer with this latest algorithm update. Keep in mind that something written for an audience five years ago may not be relevant for today’s consumer. If someone arrives on that blog page, they’ll likely be disappointed in what they find. And if they’re disappointed, they may not bother to return.

The Takeaway

Google’s latest core update is all about website relevance. The goal is to make sure sites with quality, relevant content rise to the top of the heap. Another way to look at it is that sites with lower quality content won’t be lowered in ranking per say, it’s just that sits with more relevant, higher-quality content will rise to the top search results, pushing others down. Competitors with solid content will just gain the upper hand.

If you’re not sure where your content stands in terms of relevance and quality, gives us a call. A content audit can provide the information you need to move forward with long-lasting, effective content development. 

Today's Author

This account is where everyone involved with Level343’s content marketing efforts shows up. You can say there is no “I” in this team. Sometimes we will chat about a certain topic with a variation of ideas, suggestions, even opinions. Then one of us will start writing the post, hand it over to someone else who will continue the diatribe. Eventually it ends up on our editor’s desk who either chops the hell out of it, or you’re reading it right now.


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