Have you ever noticed a sudden drop in your site traffic? Which though seemingly random at first, one Google search later you find is down to something called a Google Core Algorithm Update? It happens to the best of sites, but it can be particularly damaging if your site is the online storefront for business. And if so, then you really need to learn how to protect your online business from Google updates.
With that in mind, here are some of the core principles which you need to apply to your online business in order to protect it from future Google Updates.
Follow the Guidelines
It may seem beyond basic, but the trick to ensuring that the next Google Update doesn’t tank your site is very easy; just follow the rules.
Of course, Google has around two-hundred guiding principles which make up the overall algorithm. Not knowing every tenet of these guidelines off by heart is normal. It doesn’t mean your online business is destined to flop. It’s doubtful even the most skilled SEO ‘guru’ actually knows a handful, let alone all of them. However, if you follow the very basic outlines that Google requires from a site you should see the benefit relatively quickly.
Content is Still Important
‘Content is king’ is one of the most overused phrases in the digital marketing industry. And it has been contested in recent years as people try to establish parameters, guidelines and what have you, beyond buzzwords. But, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s no longer true.
Long-form, detailed and relevant content is still vitally important to help ensure your online business site ranks well. The higher quality your site content, the more likely you will be able to weather any storm that comes your way during a Core Update.
And, importantly, remember that duplicate content is much worse than bad content. It can get your site penalized. So, no matter how tempting don’t steal–including images–from other sites, as it could reap terrible consequences for your site. If your content is written by an agency or freelancer, then it is your responsibility to ensure they are then not stealing it from other sites. Unfortunately, this can happen and it is imperative you check this is not the case frequently.
Beware of Links
Link building is not dead, despite everyone and their grandmother stuffing SEO-related media with this phrase. However, caution is still needed for this particular marketing practice. As, now more than ever, it is quality over quantity which benefits your online business.
But, as you may or may not know, there have been large consequences for sites following Google Updates in relation to links. Especially following the Penguin Update in 2012; which targeted spammy or irrelevant links in bulk. Since that day SEO has been plagued with the idea that all link building is bad and not just the spammy kind.
Yet, in 2019 link building is still a practice that can be beneficial to your online business. It can still help to build your site, improve your traffic and ultimately help you to grow your long-term revenue. Doing so the right way, however, has become the key to avoiding devastating losses when a Google Update hits. This means ensuring the links built to your site are high quality and hold some form of relevancy. So, if you’re a sports brand building business loan links… well, you get the picture.
If your link building schemes are all above board, then you should have nothing to worry when it comes to Google Updates.
Make Keywords Natural
Once upon a time, webmasters would fill footer of a page with keywords and then simply change the text color to blend into the footer. Making the keyword stuffing completely unobvious to the casual site visitor. This was happening on an industrial level. It was a common ‘SEO expert’ practice.
And then a Google Update named ‘Hummingbird’ launched in 2013.
This meant that keyword stuffing was now heavily penalized. Which affected pages that simply overused the keyword throughout the text, but didn’t necessarily employ the tactic mentioned above. This means that the pages which had previously ranked for these tactics were suddenly tanked. And sites that had been much more conservative with their keyword use were suddenly rewarded for that fact.
Following from this, also, was a growing trend of matching searches to better meet user intent, rather than just the keywords they use, has also become more and more prevalent in Google’s Algorithm. Meaning that a site no longer has to exact-match keywords, rather just a general connection to the topic in some cases.
For example, you may optimize a page for a keyword like ‘oral hygienist’. A user can then search ‘dental hygienist’ and your page may still appear, as the intent behind the two terms is still very much the same. The same can be done for a number of keywords and industries, using broad keywords along the lines of ‘app developers’. This means, overall, that you have much more room when it comes to keyword optimization – it can be much more natural.
Ultimately, keyword optimization is still as important as ever for SEO. But, to protect your site from past and future algorithm updates, it is vital that all of your optimizations are done in line with Google best practice to protect your online business.
Ultimately, choosing to forego short-term ‘easy’ fixes for your site and you should invest in long-term strategies instead. This is ultimately more important to help avoid a Core Update problem at some stage down the line.
The longevity of your search campaigns should really stretch beyond ‘get a good link and your traffic will go up slightly that week’. The long-term strategy needs to look beyond next week and look to how to obtain traffic over longer periods, which can then be converted more consistently over time.
Long-term SEO strategies are where many agencies, freelancers and businesses tend to fall short of the mark. As getting short term traffic increases is often the main aim of many common practices set out in this niche on the whole. Perfecting longer-term, more consistent, growth can then put you above and beyond the strategies of your competitors.
Fundamentals of this long-term strategizing can include:
- Ensuring multiple traffic sources for your site – don’t let organic be the only source of traffic!
- Choose keyword optimization which will survive the test of time – not just keyword choices which are popular in the here and now!
- Build a contingency of loyal site visitors/customers. This way, you can rely on repeat custom as well as new users finding the site.
- Think about setting up paid campaigns. Google Ads is quickly becoming the search giant’s biggest concern, so make sure you are well versed in this method of search.
- Audit your performance regularly to ensure there is nothing which could be improved upon or changed.
- Engage your audience regularly across channels; including competitions, audience polls and other such tactics to ensure good long-term user ‘loyalty’.
- Analyze competitor SEO and replicate these tactics were deemed effective.
- Continue to build links to your site, but ensure they are high-quality and worthwhile.
As you will have noticed, a strong long-term SEO strategy is as much concerned with extending into other platforms as it is strengthening its own. Remember to change and adapt to your market over time as well; as this is of fundamental importance in order to build a sustainable digital marketing plan over time.
At the end of the day, ensuring that your online business is not badly affected by a Google update shouldn’t be too difficult. The fact is that if you are following basic guidelines or rudimentary SEO practice, your site should be able to weather the storm relatively well. Beyond that, issues that arise after an update could very well be due to more technical or in-depth problems than you might be expecting.
Keep the three main threads outlined above in mind when it comes to your online business and your site should be fine.