Cat and Mouse: The Google Updates Game
Monday, 24th August 2020
Every year Google rolls out numerous core updates which not only add new features or functionalities to their suite of products, but also affect how Google indexes and crawls websites.
But what do Google’s 2020 core algorithm updates actually mean for website owners?
The latest update in May this year came at an unprecedented time, given the polarization of search during Covid-19 – record numbers of search for products, services and information around the pandemic skewed user statistics to new levels.
These will, of course, stabilize and normalize over time, but the sudden shift did mean that many websites which may have been ranked in the top search results before the update have dropped down the rankings to one degree or another.
That said, it’s not simply the anomaly of Covid-19 that has or will continue to affect your website rankings over time. Google’s core updates will continue to shift the goalposts, so you need to be ready to adjust accordingly.
What do you need to be aware of?
Simply put, it’s a game of cat and mouse. Google is less interested in growing your organic ranking (the non-paid one) than you are. The reasons are obvious – fee-paying customers who spend big budgets to achieve higher rankings keep Google’s share value high.
But does this mean you shouldn’t be chasing a top 3 organic ranking? Well, no. There are many search engine users who avoid clicking on paid search results on principle, or perhaps because of habit. And there are ways of setting up your site to try and stay that one step ahead in the game.
Ranking in a top 3 position or even better yet getting a snippet in the answer box for a search query is an absolute first prize, and something you should continue to work hard to achieve.
This means working continuously on updating and refreshing your content to ensure it’s as relevant, authoritative and accurate as possible. Does it reference the latest changes, updates, news, developments etc.? Are all the relevant keywords and phrases present? Have you Alt-tagged all the relevant images? Are you using video and if so is the meta-data correct and up to date?
The secret to success is to force Google to rank you highly because you’ve paid attention to their framework.
Voice search – small effort, big gain
Voice search is not a distant migration, it’s an increasing reality with experts predicting that by the (widely welcomed) close of 2020 more than 50 percent of web searches will be done using voice, either on mobile devices like Siri or AI-based devices such as Alexa.
What does this mean for you? Well, ask yourself (literally) how your customers would express a query related to your products or services? Then optimize your site to match those queries, word for word.
Stick to your guns!
Developing a vast and top-quality array of website content takes time, effort and cost but in the short and long term it will absolutely be worth it.
Google will keep shifting the goalposts to make it harder for SEO experts to stay on top, but the ultimate premise upon which Google operates – connecting a user to a relevant piece of information based on what they’re looking for – stands true, and is for the time-being at least not something that Google can avoid.
A combined strategy that includes some paid media and a strong, robust organic content strategy will pay dividends, so stick to your guns!