How To Navigate Google Algorithm Updates


Key Takeaways

  • Google’s algorithm updates frequently, with changes that might impact the way your content appears in search results.
  • To stay ahead of the curve, creating and maintaining high quality content will ensure that even as Google’s algorithm shifts, your content will still be considered helpful and user-friendly.
  • Mobile-friendliness should also be a top priority in staying ahead of algorithm updates.
  • Finally, avoiding site issues as a whole will not only help with ranking in the present, but keep it from tanking in the future.

The Google algorithm is the great adjudicator of successful online websites, digital marketing campaigns, and business social media posts. But the algorithm changes frequently, so how does one keep up with — or even stay ahead — its ever-changing ranking qualifications and SEO demands? The first step in this process is to understand how the algorithm works. Then, we will discuss how algorithm updates impact you and how you can design around the algorithm.

How does the algorithm work?

First, we need to lay a foundation for how the Google algorithm works. Understanding Google’s algorithm isn’t the most difficult task: they have a whole page about how their search engine finds searches.

As a business, this is a great page to read through. It shows how customer-facing searches work, which allows you to reverse engineer the whole process and think, “If this is how Google shows users their search results, then I should design my content to meet these criteria.”

A basic, algorithm-friendly page or post should be relevant, well-informed, and helpful. Google’s search engine bots crawl through millions of pages to index them and rank them along the axes of relevance and quality of content, the usability of a webpage, and what your local positioning is (if applicable). The more of these you can perform well in, the better your content will fare in the algorithm’s indexes by default.

What gets updated, and how does that affect you?

But, of course, the algorithm isn’t static. Google Algorithm Updates are semi-regular changes to the algorithm that Google puts out. They can change anything from minor niches to broad, sweeping changes to the algorithm itself, and they happen thousands of times a year.

Google has started officially announcing its core updates, but many of these day-to-day changes are minor and, thus, go unannounced; however, they can have huge impacts on your SEO performance. For example, a post that ranked well for a particular set of keywords might be bumped down to deeper and deeper search pages by updates that you have no way of tracking.

How to design around the algorithm

So you’re probably thinking: how can I keep up with the algorithm if it can change multiple times in just one day? Well, the content management techniques that best keep up with these Google Algorithm Updates ensure your content stays evergreen in all but the most prominent changes – and even in those cases, it can be quickly and easily updated.

Create (and maintain) high-quality content

Your main goal, first and foremost, should always be to provide quality content that is helpful and easy to access for your customers.

If you want your content to perform well in even the short term, you need to have information that will rank well right out of the box. This means you want user-friendly and well-informed content, with all the links and keywords that define a high-ranking SEO page.

Beyond even your content, you want your website to be as user-friendly as possible. Your navigation system should be well-designed and easy to, well, navigate. Your website shouldn’t have excessively long loading times (typically, 1-2 seconds or less is the marker for well-ranking pages), and your pages should be well-designed.

The algorithm has gotten increasingly proficient at anticipating what customers want from a website beyond even the quality of the information present. Therefore, having a site and pages that are aesthetically pleasing and navigable pages is much more important than you might anticipate to your search engine rankings.

And, of course, you want to maintain the quality of your content. If you have specific integral blog posts or landing pages on your website that generate lots of traffic, you want them to stay evergreen. To this end, you’ll want to ensure that your pages are updated regularly (in the ballpark of once a year or more often). If you’re a digital marketer running a campaign on current fashion trends, you want to make sure that you’re keeping track of your older content as well. The last thing you want is some dusty old blog posts tanking your entire website’s algorithm performance.

Be as mobile-friendly as possible

Google has gone on record to say that they are taking a mobile-focused approach to future algorithm updates. Mobile searching and content browsing is an ever-growing mammoth of a sector, and the Google algorithm reflects that. You can’t perform well on the algorithm without a mobile-friendly website, and that will only continue growing in importance.

Mobile-friendly sites aren’t just easy for mobile users to use. They reflect a quality of website design that the search engine crawlers are looking for: a website that is smart enough to quickly identify the type of device accessing it and adaptable enough to be usable on that device, no matter what kind of device it may be.

You can test how mobile-friendly your site is with Google’s official mobile-friendly test. It will deploy search engine crawlers to your site to rank it on how well it can be accessed on a mobile device.

Avoid technical issues

This may seem redundant with some other topics noted above, but it’s important enough to garner its own subheading: your website should be technically sound. If search engine crawlers go through your site and find 404 errors, broken links, and navigational pages to nowhere, your site’s ranking is going to tank.

Ensuring your website is well-coded, accessible, and running smoothly is always important, not only among all search engines but also for your customer satisfaction. If your website’s broken, it won’t show up to potential customers, and those who do find it won’t be able to navigate it! Make sure your website works!

Moving forward

Whether you think you can tackle these algorithm-proofing techniques on your own or not, it always helps to have a team of digital marketing experts help you out. Redefine Marketing Group has a team of digital marketing professionals to help you ensure your website and content are evergreen and built to withstand even the greatest Google Algorithm Updates.

Author avatar
Michael Gomez
Michael was an in-house and freelance content writer before joining the team at Redefine Marketing Group. He is now the Content Manager at RMG, where he focuses primarily on content creation but helps with SEO and Social Media. Michael graduated from CSU Channel Islands with a degree in English.
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