Google December 2020 Core Update
Google announced that on Dec. 3 they will be introducing a broad core algorithm update. Google is constantly tweaking their algorithm so these are expected. When it comes to algorithm updates there shouldn’t be any reason to panic if you have implemented a quality SEO strategy. Google states, 'websites should focus on ensuring you’re offering the best content you can. That’s what our algorithms seek to reward.’ It is best to understand how the Google algorithms work and how you can work to stay in front of them with a strong SEO plan focused on visibility and quality content.
Google Algorithm Update
Search engines like Google use sophisticated algorithms to evaluate which information is relevant and meaningful to the searcher’s intent. The search engine algorithms are regularly updated to incorporate new technology and improve the user experience. For that reason, it is important to regularly monitor and adapt to the changing search engine algorithms.
To continue the positive momentum, websites need to focus on an overall SEO strategy that focuses on crawler visibility and quality content as well as understand the past confirmed Google Algorithm Updates and their impact. Furthermore, it is important to understand how the website can be impacted by Google Algorithm Updates.
Core Updates are always broad and deal with numerous factors ranging from technical site health to content quality. Typically, when a site is negatively affected by a core algorithm it is because of the overall loss of trust. This loss of trust could be caused by technical crawl issues, content duplication, or quality concerns. Google tends to profile sites looking at the entire identity to determine Expertise, Trustworthiness and Authority
If a negative or positive impact occurs after an update, we ask:
- What keyword rankings changed in position? What pages were affected?
- How was the competition affected? What is the ranking competition doing differently?
- What have we done or not done recently that could be responsible?
Per Google, “broad core updates tend to happen every few months. Content that was impacted by one might not recover - assuming improvements have been made - until the next broad core update is released.” - Google Webmaster Blog. The algorithm update may return a website to pre-algorithm hit rankings, but not result in additional rankings or growth. Continuous improvement focusing on the areas that helped the site recover will result in growth.
Develop an SEO Strategy
To protect your website from negative impacts of algorithm updates you will need a plan. For most sites there is really no reason to worry about updates if they have invested in SEO properly. A strong SEO foundation incorporates the key elements factored into Google’s search engine algorithm. In its simplest form, we break those into 4 pillars: Search Algorithms, Visibility, Content, and Measurement. Following the core pillars is necessary for SEO success.
A website must be highly visible to search engines in order to be found and indexed. This includes technical factors that impact how easily a search engine crawler can navigate through the website along with architectural elements such as how well the website is organized.
Strong keywords and content will not be successful if Google struggles to crawl and index the website. Technical SEO ensures the website is optimized for ranking factors such as:
- HTTPS / Secure Website
- Page Speed
- Optimized Images
- Crawl Errors / Broken Links
- Internal Redirects / Redirect Chains
- Log File Analysis
- Meta Data / Structured Data Markup
The website architecture is a backbone to SEO success. A cohesive, logical and clearly structured website folder and URL architecture is key to helping Google understand the content on the website. For a scalable SEO strategy, it is crucial to identify the core information architecture and how it could expand over time. The architecture needs to be periodically evaluated to ensure search engine spiders are able to identify which pages are most important. Architecture SEO considerations include:
- Domain / Subdomain Structure
- Information Architecture / Sitemap
- URL Naming
- Folder Structure
- Headings Structure
- Internal Linking
The content of a website is a foundational element that must fulfill the needs of the user as well as the search engine crawler. In order for the search engines to understand the context of the website, the keywords, content, and user experience must be polished and strategic.
Keyword strategy informs content strategy, which are foundations to SEO. When analyzing keywords, there should be a strong balance between high relevancy and high search volume. It is crucial for the business to understand:
- Keywords to Maintain
- Keywords to Increase
- Keywords to Target
- Competitor Keywords
Search engines increasingly value quality and utilize trust signals in the ranking algorithm. With each algorithm update the search engines become more intelligent. It is crucial to research what customers are looking for and created focused content written by industry experts. Some important content factors to consider are:
- Page Titles
- Meta Descriptions
- Image Alt Text
- Content Writing
- Content Readability
- Structured Content
Expertise, Authority & Trustworthiness have become a mantra for SEO and content creation lately. It is not a measurable factor, but more of a thought process that forces quality. Always think of how the site, page, or product will help your audience. If a site cannot achieve the points below, it will lack the quality that search engines are looking for.
- Expertise – is the content written by someone very knowledgeable on the subject?
- Authoritativeness – how are you proving the content was created by an expert?
- Trustworthiness – how is the site showing users they can have confidence in the content?
The final pillar of SEO success is tied to measurement. It is crucial to continuously measure results in order to adapt to the changing digital marketplace. Measurement ensures the momentum is moving in a positive direction and we are staying ahead of the competition. Without properly measuring a website, how will you ever know what works and what doesn’t? The best SEO strategies research, implement, measure and repeat based on the data.
Americaneagle.com Can Help
When it comes to finding customers who need your products or services, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is key. Americaneagle.com takes a systematic approach to SEO by looking at the full picture and creating content and technical strategies that improve keyword rankings and push you to the top of search results. Whether it's a special project or an ongoing effort, the Americaneagle.com SEO department is ready to solve your toughest challenges and propel your business to online success. Click here to learn more about our digital marketing services or to contact us.