Navigating the ever-changing landscape of Google core algorithm updates
Have you noticed sudden and unexpected changes in your ranking position?
Well, we are here to explain all! This blog is a short insight into the what’s, why’s and how’s of Google algorithms, and more specifically the impact these systems can have on your online presence. So, sit back and read along to find out what algorithms are, and most importantly, why it is crucial you stay up to date on the continuous changes and adaptations of these processes.
Algorithms are responsible for the sequencing and ordering of search results. Ensuring you understand these, and the guidelines required by them, is vital to scaling your online presence. Optimising your website online correctly in today's digital landscape is the key to increasing visibility and ensuring that you are not losing out on available web traffic.
So, let us explain to you what an algorithm is, and help you use this understanding to improve vital ranking factors.
What is an algorithm?
Algorithms are the way content is organised and prioritised online. Any online platform will have some sort of algorithm, with its specialised code and structure for prioritising content. However, for Google, it is slightly different. Their algorithm is a set of rules that Google uses to rank websites on a results page.
As a whole, Google’s main criteria for this covers your E-E-A-T (experience, expertise, authoritativeness, trustworthiness) as a domain. Your E-E-A-T criteria is the four core ranking factors Google takes into account when ordering search engine results pages. It is their way of prioritising the most relevant and intent-fulfilling results to users, for the best user experience. To sit in the No.1 position on a search engine results page (SERP), you must beat your competitors in all the above areas when Google crawls your website. To achieve the best ordering of SERPs to match user intent, Google frequently introduces new systems to assess content. These major algorithm revisions, also known as core updates, are to drive up the visibility of websites that meet these requirements, and as a result, give users a better experience. Simple, hey 😉
What is a Google core update?
Google states that “Core updates are designed to ensure that overall, we're delivering on our mission to present helpful and reliable results for searchers.”
They are implemented multiple times annually to streamline and improve the Google algorithm ranking order on search engine results pages. This is done by improving how Google systems assess content overall. The main aim of these core updates is to better organise the algorithm into rewarding relevant content to improve user experience on its search engine. But how do these updates affect you – and why is it so important that you keep track of them?
Impact of algorithm updates
Google algorithm updates are intended to promote the most relevant content to searcher intent. As a result, websites that meet the core four pillars of SEO – technical SEO, content and UX, on-page SEO and off-page SEO are promoted to best filter the SERPs but it isn’t that easy. Any changes in rankings resulting from a core update, whether positive or negative, can greatly affect your organic traffic, conversions, and revenue streams.
Being aware of when Google rolls out these updates can be valuable in ensuring minimal negative shifts in your website’s performance. However, without industry insights, it can be very hard for a business to anticipate these, as there is no way of predicting when a core update is scheduled to roll out.
For example, Google rolls out various algorithm updates with an average of three core updates per year. The core updates in the past have been relatively spaced out, leaving businesses a few months to reorganise and adjust to any necessary changes. However, this year, a core update has occurred in two consecutive months, for the first time.
This year there have been three core updates in the last three months of 2023 alone, which is the highest frequency of rollouts to date. The October 2023 Core update finished rolling out on October 19th, and news of a November core update was released on the 2nd of November. This leaves less than 2 weeks between both updates. This may generate a lot of fear among businesses, as the information on the November update at this time is minimal, and website owners are left in a phase of a little uncertainty about what to expect and the next steps.
However, all businesses must remember that Google's primary objective is to recognise and promote high-quality, reliable content – they are not trying to demote and penalise businesses. This only occurs as a knock-on effect of the algorithm improving its service to users; better matching searcher intent for specific queries.
How can we help you?
As a digital marketing agency with over 30 years of experience in the industry, we have been present for every Google core update whilst maintaining and improving our client's online visibility throughout this time.
Our plethora of experience in the field is extremely valuable and could well be to your business as we start to edge closer to 2024. We hold industry insights to not only recover from a Google core update but also to help your website sustain its visibility on the SERPs when these updates are rolled out.
Our experienced team consistently monitor, analyse and maintain all our client websites keeping their domains as stable and strong as possible on the SERPs!
By Lara Howie on By Lara Howie on 10 November 2023