Protect Your Website From Google Algorithm Changes

By Doug Gunsolley

Everyone in the digital marketing space knows that in the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) world, things can change quickly.  With Google tweaking their search algorithm dozens of times a year, it can seem overwhelming to keep up with the changes.  Fortunately, though, if you think about it from Google’s point of view, all these changes are designed to deliver the best search results possible.  This means that a website that is designed to give its users the best information possible can thrive in this changing environment.

For example, Google recently rolled out an update dubbed the medic update which primarily affected sites in the medical, health, fitness, healthy lifestyle space.  With the Medic update, Google changed the significance of its algorithm’s core ranking factors. This is the overall framework for how your content gets ranked in search results. Some site showed traffic increases and others showed traffic drops after this update.

So how does a business protect their site from potential negative impact of these algorithm changes?  While Google does not reveal its secret sauce for ranking websites, it does give guidelines.  The most basic thing a business can do is to focus on making a great experience, offer better content and a more useful website.  Remember that Google wants the best results for the user.  If your site offers a great experience for the user, that will go a long way towards making sure your site does not suffer dramatic traffic swings.

Here are some factors that can help

Freshness: When was the last time you updated your web site? Does the copyright date in the footer say © 2002? Google loves to crawl new content and add it to their database. For this reason, it is a great idea to add something new to your website on a regular basis. Whether it’s a new product, a new web page, or a new article, providing something new will help keep Google happy and, more importantly, your users coming back.

Content:
 Related to freshness is content. Not just any content but content that is related to what your web site is offering. If you are selling cat products, adding an article about proper cat care or information about the various cat breeds will enable the natural addition of search phrases to be added to your website. The addition of keywords related to what your site focuses on will provide an indication to Google what your site is focused on. It will also bring in new visits for different but related search terms from visitors that have a vested interest in what you are offering.

Urls:
  A url stands for uniform (or universal) resource locator. It is the unique name of the web page address. Google likes it when it finds words in the url that are related to the content found on the web page. A web page with the url odorless-kitty-litter.html will receive a much better position in the search engine rankings for the search term “odorless kitty litter” compared to a web page with the url page1.html

Speed:
 Google loves to get things done quickly. There are hundreds of elements Google considers when deciding where a web page shows up in a search result. This mathematical algorithm is made up of a number of different ingredients. One of these is the amount of time it takes for a page to load. If it loads quickly, Google knows that is helpful to the user.  If it takes longer than a few seconds, Google knows your site will lose visitors.  Google will then be reluctant to even show your site to those searchers.

Quality links: If you want your website to send a signal that it is a worthy resource, obtain a link from a highly trusted and established website. Having a site linked to from the New York Time’s website will carry more weight from Google than a link from a newly created blog with very little history. Trust is very important in any relationship and having high quality links pointing to your website will instill this trust and solidify your standing on the web.

Age:
 This is one factor that is difficult to pull off inorganically. When it comes to age, older is better. You can’t trick Google with a fake ID. If your web site’s domain age is older than your competitors, your site will have a better chance to show up higher in the search engines. If your domain name was purchased last week and your site is brand new, it will take a little more time to get great rankings.

These are just a few of the many ranking signals that can affect your SEO.  Google also publishes an SEO Starter Guide with more information on SEO best practices

Finally, if you are looking for professional help with your SEO efforts, make sure that the company you work with is doing “white hat” SEO. A white hat SEO firm avoids risky practices, such as paying for links, publishing spammy content, and using other questionable tactics.  At Connoisseur Digital, we know the importance of using best practices and tactics for your SEO efforts.  Contact us today to learn more.

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