Google’s algorithm is known to have core changes every few months to improve the quality of search results – what does this mean for you and your website?
With every change to the algorithm, if not detected immediately, can lead to severe impacts on your website performance and discovery. In some instances, small businesses have had their websites penalized and others have recovered from past penalizations.
How your business can be affected by updates of the Google algorithm:
- Website traffic (these changes can be drastic!)
- Search visibility and Google page rankings, or lack thereof
- A reach to new consumers – this sounds great in theory, but the effects of this are new user behaviour towards your products and services
How to stay strong despite Google Algorithm changes:
The first question to ask yourself is: do I have enough content on my website? The Google Algorithm had affected websites that had minimal content in relation to their number of links.
Creating new, fresh, and informative content regularly on your website will increase the amount of organic traffic that is directed your way. The longer and more credible your information is, the more exposure it will have. By the way, taking inspiration from other websites is okay to do! Cite your sources or give examples with links to your external sources and watch Google do its magic!
Tip: When creating content for your website, answer the questions up front and give your viewers the answers at the first opportunity in an article. The further down your information is– the more buried it is– the more likely it is to get lost in the search results.
Lean on Metadata
Metadata is information about information. When you look at a file, the contents are accompanied by things like the filename, when the file was created, when it was modified, its file size. Photos get accompanied by “EXIF” data that covered dimensions, device, composition details, sometimes even the lat/long of where the photo was taken.
HTML has metadata too. All of a web page is made up of HTML tags. They look like this:
<a href=”https://web321 title=”Best on the Web”>Web321</a>
There are critical pieces: the tag itself (a hyperlink, a bold tag, etc.) and the content wrapping the text in use. There is other data in the HTML that can get read in by search engines. Search engines use metadata to give something context.
The title element can be added to HTML to give it more context. Beyond catering to search engines, the title tag is read in by non-visual web browsers used by the visually impaired. It can be handy for describing your element in a way that suits a search engine that may be too long-winded or awkward were it to appear visibly on the page.
The alt element can be added to images.
<img src=”/images/picture100.jpg” alt=”A yellow rose as photographed by Jane Smith in August of 2019”/>
It can describe the image both to non-visual screen readers and search engines. Search engines are getting really good at interpreting images for their content, but it’s still hard work and it can be wrong. Adding the alt tags spoon-feeds the information to the search engines. More on images: https://moz.com/learn/seo/alt-text
Using nofollow links is beneficial to implement because they boost your domain authority and ultimately drive traffic to your website. If you look at the HTML source code for a hyperlink, it looks like this:
When Google indexes a website, it follows the links that are present. If they lead away to another website, Google will merrily turn its attention to that other website. There is a way to say to Google, “Hey! Don’t look over there!”
<a href=”https://yahoo.com/ rel=”nofollow”>
The rel=”nofollow” is read by Google and Google will not index the content on the other site. This can also be used internally if there is a compelling reason to show users content that you want Google to discount.
There’s another factor to nofollow: if you share links on other sites through a backlinking exercise, the sites that do not use nofollow are more valuable than those that allow Google to follow links. This is best seen in social media. Social media is a frenzy of activity and link sharing. Why doesn’t that create love from Google? Almost all of the links in social media (Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, etc.) get the rel=”nofollow” added. Google reads the phrase used in the hyperlink but doesn’t give authority to the linked site. The social media site becomes the magnet for those searches moreso than the details page on the linked site. Google appears to be factoring that into the search algorithm and you will seldom find social media links in Google search results.
Hint: Sharing your new blog post through social media is a nofollow as well.
Have a responsive website without loading pages. The Google algorithm doesn’t favour websites with loading pages and more often than not, will not show your webpage. Beyond the algorithm not favouring your website, the responsiveness of your website will directly correlate how much traffic will come to, or stay on your website.
Beyond favouring responsive websites, the algorithm has been updated for mobile websites as well as desktop websites. As more than 50% of website traffic is done with a mobile device, the importance of a responsive mobile website has increased.
The Google algorithm for mobile websites accounts for relevance and timeliness more than actual content! Though this sounds like it may be counterproductive the purpose is to keep the user experience high.
Google Search Console Insights
The Google Search Console allows you to keep in check with the new content that you’re putting on to your website. Keep track of your content performance through metrics depicting the views, how long people stayed on the page to interact with the content and who is sharing the content to their social media platforms.
Whether you love or hate Google and its tracking of your website, it does it anyway. Google Search Console lets you peek at some of the metrics they uncover.
Having access to the Google Search Console allows you to track regularity patterns of your page views and content interactivity. By viewing these metrics, it makes it more noticeable when changes happen and helps to pinpoint the cause for these changes.
While Google Search Console gives your site a health check-up on its search opportunities, Google Analytics gives you hard data on who comes to the site. Why, when and where: important questions to understand online success.
Why: Understanding why a user comes on to your website reveals the basic questions of what is the user’s need and what is their intention? Looking at this information will allow you to see what products are being looked at, how long they’re looked at, if there was an abandoned cart or follow through to purchase. This information is key for acknowledging where website issues are and if changes to the page need to be made.
Other information that comes from Google Analytics is the comparison of “clicks” versus “impressions”. Clicks are the number of visits from a Google search while impressions are the viewership of links from a Google search with no clickthrough. If your impressions are higher than your clicks, the question then shifts from why to why not?
When: Looking at when people are viewing your website may reveal just as much information as to why people are on your website. Your products may have more of a draw during holidays; when there are promotions being advertised; or when world events are happening.
Or, more simply, your website may have more traffic during the workday between Monday and Friday than on the weekends. This year has changed user habits but it hasn’t turned them on their heads. Google Analytics and Google Search Console will reveal pattern changes and how a business may need to adapt in response.
For example, if you sell coffee creamers, pumpkin spice flavoured creamer will be viewed more during the months of September-October than it may in December!
Where: Exploring where your views are coming from can be impacted by Local SEO. Local SEO is a strategy that directly benefits your business by being more visible in search results and creating more online leads. With this in mind, if you are experiencing viewership from other regions of the city, this information allows you to acknowledge new markets to tap in to!
In short, Google harnesses results based on location, so results that you may experience at work can be very different from the results you get at home!
How Web321 Can Help
1. A Managed Web Presence
We understand that you have a business to run and keeping track of Google analytics is another task that would be added to your list. Or, maybe you are new to tracking Google analytics and aren’t sure what insights are out of the ordinary. That’s where we come in! Web321 manages your website’s analytics and creates monthly reports for you to assure everything is on track.
In addition to tracking your analytics and search results our managed web presence provides your website with optimal response times and unlimited content updates.
2. Booster Packs – Content Creation
Web 321 offers various Booster Packs to our clients with the aim of boosting the performance of your website. A notable Booster Pack that we offer is our content creation package. This package is designed to refresh your online presence with specially curated infographics, relevant photos optimized for your website, blogs and articles that boost your online authority.
Web 321 is your go-to hub of website management tools to help improve your business with a monthly subscription model. Our signature plan is $321/month with add-on booster packs available to maximize your web presence.