Google makes updates and algorithm changes often. And by often we mean literally thousands of updates on the regular. Entirely too many to keep track of and we tend only hear about those which will make a significant impact on the way we do business. That’s why we’re chatting today. Google gave us all a head’s up on a new change. And if Google is giving us a heads up, you know it’s going to be a significant update.
Okay enough lead-in. What’s the change? This update impacts the current SEO model as we know it and is switching the primary focus from keyword only to user experience. Catch our conversation about the new update on our Magnet Marketers podcast.
AHHHHHHHH… it’s like Google was listening to us. Oh wait. They are 👀
We’re constantly talking about how to give users a frictionless experience on your website, and now Google is affirming this by adjusting its search result page rank to be influenced by just that. Site experience.
As a user, we want accurate, fast, relevant results when were searching. It’s Google’s thing, they deliver. However, from a business perspective, it’s a little convoluted… and businesses are left scratching their proverbial heads wondering why they are showing up for one search query but not another other.
There are two ways to crack Google, as the algorithm currently stands. Period. Because if you try to cheat the system, Google knows. *Google knows everything* Here’s the secret...
- paying your way via ads
- earning your way which is ongoing via having the most accurate answers to the questions people are typing in
We have this breakdown in another blog >> HERE << to give you insight into these two points. These aren’t the focus of this latest algorithm update so we’re going to leave you with that link and dive into what those latest (and coming soon) updates look like.
Most Recent Google Core Updates
Google’s goal is to provide the best possible results. They are watching how users are consuming information and paying attention to how they prefer their content to be delivered.
Quick Page Checklist:
- Quality over Quantity
- Does your content provide original, authoritative content sharing relative answers?
- Unique content... NOT the same as everyone else, and not answering questions once then repurposing it across other sites to cheat.
- Deep in research. Does the content provide insightful analysis that is beyond the fluff? Is it really diving into the how-tos?
- Does the headline provide a description or does it border on clickbait (banking on shock or exaggeration value)
- Would a user find the content helpful and recommend or bookmark for future reference?
- Would this information be referenced in printed materials? Is it answering a question better than someone else?
- Are you serving a local market also? Local - Mobile - Relevance: who is the target demographic and how you are serving them in your area.
This last update has helped to give worthy businesses the chance to rank on page one. These are helpful tips to keep in consideration for your blogs and podcasts as well to keep your SEO and page rank elevated.
For Full CORE Updates >> Google Core Updates
Here’s the 6-month head’s up
We are pretty pumped for this next round of updates. You’ve heard us time and time again referencing ways to make the user experience a priority when it comes to building and designing your website. We incorporate a user’s frictionless experience with a solid SEO strategy when planning your project. Google is now ALSO shifting priority to page rank based on user experience.
So what does this mean?
Google will be ranking each page individually so one page may rank really well, but the other may not. This new update not only is going to focus on those keywords and content priorities we mentioned above in their Core Update but also how someone is experiencing what’s there - the actions being taken from a user’s perspective… it’s taking page rank to an entirely new level, touching on these few points.
- How is the page built?
- How is the page designed?
- What could interrupt/hinder the frictionless experience?
Here are a few PRO TIPS and resources.
- Google Search Console - TEST - link into Google Analytics or sign up separately (free) and the Search Console will tell you how the site is currently being experienced. It will identify broken pages, speed issues, etc. It’s a great preview of what customers and browsers are experiencing.
- Speed (loading performance) - recommendations 2.5 seconds or less - The Search Console will run a speed test to check your pages - BONUS pro tip: clear your cache then run the test
- A slow load is a ding. Is the page is heavy and content isn’t rendering quickly Google will hit you with a “deduction.” What’s impacting your site speed? Large images, web coding, server settings… so this it’s not just opinion-based criteria, its based on systems and settings.
- Check the stability of visuals > are your buttons and images loading, are your buttons working to interact on the site
- Look at the site from a mobile-first perspective (as well as desktop performance)
- Test on mobile so you can see how your user is experiencing the site - images may drop/place/stack differently than on your desktop. CTAs on your graphics may also be readjusting so if your text says to “click here” and your button is sorted elsewhere your user will not be engaging with your content. Ditto if your user has a stack of content where they are now scrolling forever. They’ll drop off and you will have lost them in the massive content dump on their mobile.
- Have an outside source check your sites for the second set of eyes
- Security - secure domain!!!!!! Google will give priority to your users to secure browsers. A secure browser provides verification that you are a legit business - if you don’t have that HTTPS it’s telling users it isn’t a safe site. Get an SSL added to your domain. Google may not refer to your site without it.
- Visuals without “trickery” - We’ve all been there. We’ve been blocked by that black box pop-up that says “Do you want to continue” and the opt-out is nearly invisible and you can’t click out or move forward. Lose the trickery.
- You can still use pop-ups, but be sure you’re providing a smooth experience with your pop-ups and ditto for the advertising on your site (within the google network) advertisers using clickbait ads, confusing the users with content that isn’t what it seems will be a sure-fire way for Google to say no to ranking your site.
- Does your site have malware or potentially have malware? Sucuri - is a hand tool that constantly scans your site for potential threats and if there’s an issue, it’ll clean it up for you.
What can we do NOW?
You have time to work on your site. Google is giving us a six-month window before they roll out their new algorithm update. Use your time wisely. Audit your website. Look at how it’s built and how someone is going to experience it...
- Google Search Console. Test, verify, evaluate your website | can set-up for weekly alerts to see how the site is performing | again, it’s free
- Speed test. Images need to be modified/optimized for web. Minimize your plug-ins. Try not to use templates pre-loaded with a ton of plug-in options. Check out your server - if you’re on a shared server and someone is taking up a bulk load of it, it will impact your site as well > is it time to have a private or dedicated server for your site so you can control your speed. Keep your WordPress versions up-to-date - older versions are slower than others. Ask your server provider if it can handle the updated WordPress version. Ask questions and if it isn’t your jam, find someone to help give you insight into making sure everything works appropriately.
- Check out security tools
BONUS TOOLKIT HELPERS >> Browserstack | Google AMP (text versions of the site) | Google Search Console | Hotjar (heatmap of how customers are experiencing website AND video replay of watching what’s happening (click image versus button that actually has action step))
We totally understand that by the time you think you’ve got your head wrapped around Google’s updates they roll out another, but we can help you navigate the changes. Let us know how we can help or what are some tools you use to improve overall UX on your sites?