In case you aren’t aware, Google makes changes to its algorithm on a regular basis. In fact, in just one year’s time, Google recently made 3,200 changes to its search algorithm. People often sweat the major announcements regarding algorithm changes, such as the August 2019 one about Google core updates. However, there’s really no need to stress out. With so many changes being made in general, keeping some common sense advice in mind will help you to organically achieve better rankings over time. Follow these tips for surviving algorithm changes, straight from Google’s own recommendations.
Quality of Content
As the saying goes, “Content is king.” This remains true. One rule that has always applied when it comes to SEO is that you should write for people, not search engines. There is some advice beyond this fundamental rule. Let’s take a look at some of the company’s suggestions.
First, they emphasize the need to provide original information, reporting and research. Google looks for new and original content, not just a rewrite of what’s already out there. That means their search engine is looking for you to go further. In fact, Google official recommendation is that webmasters work to provide “a substantial, complete or comprehensive description of the topic.” When you take the time to provide users with a thorough answer to your question, they’re less likely to bounce to other pages. This will reflect positively in your favor when it comes to rankings.
Along these lines, it’s also important that you go above and beyond the competition. Google encourages users to provide information that is beyond the obvious. They want detailed research, along with an analysis of that information. Share data and insight from your own experience. This will set you apart. Be sure not to simply cut and paste data you come across, though. Take time to delve deeper into the content and to share your own original thoughts on the information.
Not only is your content important in Google’s algorithm; headlines matter, too. Your headline should be accurate and descriptive. If they don’t, your reader won’t stay on the page. You also want to avoid the temptation to write sensational or outlandish headlines for this reason. A high bounce rate will hurt your rank.
You want to strive for content that people love. Google recommends making it so that folks will want to bookmark, share and recommend. In fact, they go a step beyond that and suggest that you write material that could be seen in a print publication such as a book or magazine. It can be tempting to dash off less than stellar content simply because online information is so readily available and easy to access. Shoot for professional, quality content and you’ll never go wrong.
Display of Expertise
Clearly, we can’t all be experts in everything. However, you should at the very least be knowledgeable about the subject you’re presenting. While it’s true that you’re writing for humans, search engines like Google also look for content that reflects a certain level of expertise. Your audience should at least have a modicum of trust in what you’re offering on the page. This will be reflected in the amount of time they remain there.
Google’s new recommendations involve providing your audience with evidence as to why they should trust you. Be sure you create an About Page that tells of your credentials and link to it throughout your site. Provide information about your background, linking out to works you’ve provided elsewhere. When you’re citing information that isn’t yours, be sure to list or link your source. You want to present yourself as an authority on the subject. You can do that with evidence of your knowledge and credentials, along with the fact that you are aware of other current and relevant sources.
Another issue that falls under the realm of expertise is the presentation of factual information. Be sure to fact check what you’re putting out there. You don’t want to unknowingly spread disinformation from questionable sources. It’s even worse if you are intentionally spreading “fake news.” Google will penalize you for this.
Some of your ranking will be with regard to how your site compares to others. Google’s newest recommendations regarding algorithm advise webmasters to be sure they are providing substantial value in comparison to other similar pages within the search results. So, it’s a good idea to take some time to research the top several results on the first page for your search term prior to writing your content. This will help to guide your own content in a way that ensures your content stands out and offers a new angle.
Google also wants you to write in ways that are useful for the folks who are visiting your site, rather than trying to guess what will rank better. Remember the very first rule of content creation is to write for real people, not for the search engines. Pay attention to what visitors respond well to on your site already. Give them more of that or expand upon what you’ve already offered. Over time, as you continue providing content of value, Google will reward your efforts with higher rankings.
Finally, the way your site looks and how it functions also matters to Google. Check for spelling and grammatical errors. In addition, your content should be easily readable. That means clear fonts and colors that make things easy to see are essential. Your graphics and videos should also look professional. Avoid just throwing things together or grabbing a free stock image. Avoid sharing too many ads, as this will make your page look cluttered and distract from the content. You also want to be certain your page looks good on mobile devices, as this is the preferred viewing method for much of the population. Consider the quality of your presentation in order to give yourself an advantage with regard to rank.
Keep these tips in mind as you move forward. These Google recommendations will help you to survive algorithm changes and maintain high rankings in searches.