Google updates are without a doubt one of the most frustrating things for any website trying to maintain their organic ranking over any given time. According to Moz, Google changes its search algorithm around 500 to 600 times each year. These have ranged from Panda to Penguin, Hummingbird, mobile update, quality update, Exact-Match Domain (EMD) Update and many others. Most updates are small, not affecting your rankings much. Every now and then however, a major update is released. Or updates such as Panda are added to Google’s core ranking algorithm.
Since launching in 1998, Google has consistently refined its algorithm to provide users with the best possible content. A number of these update have been targeted specifically at low quality, spam websites in a move to reduce the amount of poor quality content in the SERPs. But other updates have been all about Google getting a better idea of search queries and onsite content so that it can align results in a more effective way.
The downside of this is that sites previously thriving at first or second place could suddenly find themselves lost in the results – even if they have not necessarily resorted to spammy practices to get ahead.
Keeping Your SEO Rankings Stable After a Major Google Update
What exactly do these updates mean for your organic Search Engine Optimisation rankings, and how can you ensure that you don’t end up losing your hard-earned success?
A few things to keep in mind before panicking over the potential loss of your SEO rankings include the following:
Work on your content
Panda hit especially hard for websites with low-quality content. Having a large website that has a large amount of poor quality content can be extremely damaging to your rankings – and not only after a core update. Rather than deleting these pages, put your time and effort into improving them instead. It will be a lot harder for Google to penalise websites that have well-written content that cannot be seen as spammy or irrelevant.
Fine-tune your linking strategies
Coming after Panda, Penguin focused on targeting spammy links. Google sees backlinks as a signal of authority and reputation. Keeping that in mind, your backlinking profile is considered as a major ranking factor. If you are linking to poor quality sites, or those that irrelevant, you will be at risk of penalties. Organic, high quality links that offer real value are what you want to aim for here.
Go beyond your keywords
Hummingbird focused on intent and context, as Google noted that users used conversational phrases to find things that they were looking for online. This means that websites need to be aware of user’s interests and objectives. It also highlighted the importance of long-tail keywords.
Focus on mobile
In 2015, Google’s mobile update began a journey that would bring its mobile first plan kicking off. After seeing that mobile searches had surpassed desktop searches, Google began to prioritise responsive sites that catered to mobile usage.
Be careful with user-generated content
Not long after the mobile update, Google quietly ran a quality update that was designed to penalise sites with a lot of certain types of user content and ads. This comes back to the importance of quality content however.
While other updates have also played a part in SEO rankings, these ones are especially important to note.
The most effective way to ensure that your efforts are not wasted is to get help from experienced Search Engine Optimisation professionals who can help you grow organic results that can withstand Google’s updates. Leave your details on our Get Started page for more information on how to improve your SEO rankings holistically.