Google makes a lot of surprise updates to its algorithm and marketers are often left to scramble to understand the changes that the recent updates might bring. However, this time Google has surprised everyone by actually announcing an update. On August 1st, 2018, Google announced that it’s made a routine update to Google’s Board Core Algorithm.
Before the panic sets in, Google actually makes over hundreds of updates to its algorithm over the year, some of them we hear about such as Penguin, Panda, Pigeon, Fred, etc. Most of these changes are nothing more than bug fixes or patches to address specific faults or issues in Google’s algorithm.
So, what exactly is a Board Core Algorithm Update and how does it differ from the usual updates?
Well, Google Board Core Algorithm is a tweak or an update to the main search algorithm. This is the one that has over 200 to 500 different ranking factors and signals that determine the position and popularity of your website on Google.
The ranking factors determine how a website would score and will be ranked on Google. So, making a change to the algorithm most commonly means that the rankings were probably changed and some factors were considered more important, while others less. This could have caused a lot of people to see some rise or dip in their website rankings.
However, here’s what Google had to officially say about their update:
“Each day, Google usually releases one or more changes designed to improve our results. Some are focused around specific improvements. Some are broad changes. Last week, we released a broad core algorithm update. We do these routinely several times per year.
As with any update, some sites may note drops or gains. There’s nothing wrong with pages that may now perform less well. Instead, it’s that changes to our systems are benefiting pages that were previously under-rewarded.
There’s no “fix” for pages that may perform less well, other than to remain focused on building great content. Over time, it may be that your content may rise relative to other pages.”
Google updates are usually hush-hush until they are actually introduced and even then the company never says the changes that it made. Instead, the SEO community scrambles to find the changes made by the updates.
With each update, the most common assumption is that Google is focusing on targeting the rankings of “low quality” websites. However, this time around, Google has explicitly mentioned that it did not make any changes to focus on any particular websites, instead the changes were made to improve the algorithm’s ability to perform – i.e. provide the best search result for a query.
Google Core Algorithm Update Twice a Day
Google is constantly updating its core algorithm, trying to find better ways to provide more relevant search results. It does not focus on any particular type of websites and nor does it try to penalize websites. The main objective of Google’s algorithm is to provide relevant search results to corresponding queries.
Here’s what Google had to say about their core updates:
“…our most experienced search engineers carefully review the data from all the different experiments and decide if the change is approved to launch. It sounds like a lot, but the process is well refined, so an engineer can go from idea to live on Google for a percentage of users in 24 hours. Based on all of this experimentation, evaluation and analysis, we launched 665 improvements to search in 2012.”
According to Danny Sullivan, since there are so many updates that are happening routinely, it is ludicrous to name each update as it goes out. He tweeted about the ‘Fred’ update way back in December 2017 saying, “Reports calling this a single “update” or calling it “Fred” don’t reflect what we actually said: there were several minor changes that happened as they routinely do in any particular week.”
What is The Update About?
There are three main takeaways in this update:
- Focus on relevancy for users – The main focus of making the tweaks to the update is to focus on user intent and understanding information. The algorithm is updated to make more relevant connections based on all the algorithm understands about the users. So, in case the user is searching for jaguar, are they searching for the animal, the car, the car company or the football team? Better understanding of their users is one of the main focus of these Google’s updates.
- You have done nothing “wrong” – While, people believe that they might have done something wrong that they ended up losing ranking with each update, but that is not true. The website is not low quality, but there are many factors that are taken into consideration when the rankings are calculated. Some updates might end up bringing some websites down, while other ones can help boost it.
- There is no recovery “fix”- According to Google, there is no fix to help recover your rankings. It doesn’t work as a one-time thing. SEO is proactive, which means it must be done continuously. Don’t focus on the rankings, instead focus on providing better and more relevant content. Building websites that are informative and relevant to the users will automatically help them rise in the ranks.
So, what can you do to help your website?
1. Focus on Quality Content
The first thing any marketing person hears is ‘content is king’ and there is a reason for that. Good quality content is what works in the world of SEO. Don’t focus on simply including content because you have to, instead build your website around quality content that provides value and offers information to your readers. If your content is golden and adds value, then users will automatically come flocking to your website. Try to stay away from regurgitated content that can be commonly found on other websites and offer your readers something that they can’t find elsewhere.
2. Don’t Dwell on the Rankings
If you get caught up in rankings, then you are bound to lose. Rankings is a number game, and for every winner, there is bound to be a loser. So if you become obsessed with ranking, you are bound to lose out when it comes to customers. You should instead focus on relevant keywords that can help you attract the right type of crowd to your website.
3. Pay Attention to Your Customers
In the long run, companies tend to forget why they built the company in the first place. Between the marketing, sales and SEO, we forget that the customers are the most important piece of the puzzle. Create your entire plans based on your customers and their user journeys – how they find you, how they are interacting with you, what they like, what they didn’t, what do they want, etc. When you focus on providing what your customers want, the rest of the rat race becomes irrelevant.
4. Develop Calls to Action Based on User Intent
User intent is crucial when it comes to marketing and has a significant impact on the sales cycle. The reason behind why a customer chose to visit your website, browse through your products and purchase them can help you build a stronger and relevant marketing strategy.
5. Focus on Relevant Traffic
Another thing that companies often lose sight of is the relevancy of traffic. While the numbers are important, it is more important to get numbers that may actually purchase from you. Attracting irrelevant users is a waste of time and bandwidth since they will never translate to any sales. Relevant traffic results in more convertible leads and in short more sales.
Now that we know that Google isn’t out to get any particular websites and that you will definitely see a whole lot of regular updates to Google’s algorithm, these few tips to create a better SEO strategy can help you boost your rankings as well as sales.