According to Google, updates to its search algorithms occur often, if not daily. The most recent of them is the aptly named “May 2022 core update.” However, Google occasionally makes big changes to them, and these are known as “wide core upgrades.”
In this recent update, Google is focusing on the following:
Mobile-friendly sites will rank better
Google is constantly working to improve to provide the most relevant information. One of the most recent updates is a ranking boost for mobile-friendly pages. This means pages that have a responsive design on mobile will rank better.
Giving more weight to authoritative sites, especially those with originality
The internet contains a plethora of websites that are full of information on a given topic. But, many of these websites copy without providing anything new or original. If you want to make sure your website is high quality, ensure that your site has original content.
Increasing the ranking of sites with high user engagement
There are several ways to increase your rankings on search engine results pages (SERPs). One of the most effective strategies is user engagement. More engagement means people are interested in your site. You can do this by providing valuable content that helps people. Your site will earn a reputation for high-quality writing.
The Steps You Should Take After a Google Algorithm Update Hits Your Site
1. Stay calm.
When your traffic significantly decreases, it’s normal to freak out.
However, if you wind up making a lot of changes to your website quickly, it can backfire. Editing should only be done after a thorough check of your site.
It’s crucial to remember that core upgrades usually take a few weeks to release. Rankings may alter dramatically as a result of this.
These changes in rankings could be temporary in many cases. Within a few weeks, you might discover that your traffic has stabilized at the previous level.
Making large website modifications during a significant core update is a dangerous approach. On the contents that Google approves, it might have a detrimental effect.
2. Utilize data to pinpoint content that requires improvement.
Once the update has been implemented it is time to determine which content has been most impacted.
If you make use of SEO tools like ahrefs or semrush you can see what pages have taken a hit. You may also use Google Search Console and Google Analytics to pinpoint what content has dropped in traffic.
Using these tools, create a list of pages that dropped in rankings and then…
3. Examine the relevance of each of the pages in your list of problematic pages.
“They’re designed to ensure that overall, we’re delivering on our mission to present relevant and authoritative content to searchers.“
Based on Google’s statement, this explains why the content on the list of “problem pages” you’ve made has taken a dip in search results. It is now seen as being less relevant and authoritative compared to your competitors.
First, let’s talk about the relevance aspect. How can you make your content stand out and be the most relevant among the competition?
Make sure your posts and pages are updated
Google has been very straightforward about the fact that they use the “freshness” of the information as a criterion for relevance.
They made a public announcement in 2010 that they had developed an algorithm called “Caffeine” just for that purpose.
However, it’s simple to confuse “freshness” with “I must create new content.” Although regularly creating new content is crucial, your current issue—the fact that fewer people are visiting your existing pages and posts—will not be resolved by doing so.
Therefore, review your current “problem pages” and update any outdated or incorrect information they may include.
This is especially crucial if you run a review on your website. Products and services change over time, and for your reviews to be relevant, they should ideally take these changes into account as soon as they occur.
Make sure you are thoroughly covering your topics
In general, content that ranks well in Google search results is extremely in-depth; “long form” blog entries that delve deeply into a subject. It typically performs better than “thin” content.
So look at the articles and pages that are currently ranking higher than yours and consider the following:
- Do they bring up a point you neglected to address?
- Do they delve deeper into a certain subject than you do?
Make sure that the pages that have lost traffic are covering the topics they are addressing in great detail. However, you should be careful not to overuse the “long form” side of things. Readers tend to prefer information that is in-depth but easily digestible.
Make sure to write your content with people, not search engines, in mind
Many content producers wind up becoming obsessed with “ranking signals”—some actual, some imagined—and end up creating something they believe a computer would find appealing.
But it’s crucial to keep in mind that, in the end, both you and search engines want to deliver content that is highly relevant to humans when choosing what to display in results.
In light of this, make sure to put the user experience at the center of any material you’re trying to enhance. Keep in mind the following:
- Make sure that your material is simple to read and reliable.
- Avoid stuffing it with keywords.
- Make it simple to scan and/or browse if the content is long-form.
Check the relevance of your underperforming pages using Google’s relevance questions.
When attempting to enhance the material that has been impacted by a core upgrade, Google provides a list of questions that it recommends you ask yourself.
- Does the article offer original reporting, research, information, or analysis?
- Does the article offer a thorough, comprehensive, or extensive description of the subject?
- Is there smart analysis or intriguing information that goes beyond the content?
- Does the content that is based on other sources avoid simply copying or rewriting those sources and instead contribute a significant originality and value?
- Does the page title or headline offer a detailed and illuminating overview of the content?
- Does the page title or headline refrain from being overly dramatic or shocking?
- Is this the kind of page you’d like to save, send to a friend, or otherwise endorse?
- Would you anticipate finding this information in or citing it in a printed magazine, encyclopedia, or book?
4. Enhance your pages from an authority standpoint
Increase ‘on-page’ authority
“On-page authority” means how reliable the content is on its own.
In 2015, Google released a Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines document explaining what the company deems to be a topic with authority. It includes a list of benchmarks for expertise, authority, and trustworthiness that can be used to judge if a page qualifies as authoritative.
- Make sure your material is hosted on a secure website (one that begins with “HTTPS”).
- Make sure the author of a piece of material can be easily identified, and that the page or post contains a clear link to an author’s biography (which lists the author’s qualifications and experience).
- Make sure the page’s core information is comprehensive, factually correct, grammatically correct, and simple to grasp.
- If possible, make sure the authors and journalists who provide your material have a solid reputation in their field.
- When making a claim, support it with a citation to (and ideally a hyperlink) a reliable source.
- Where possible, conduct your original research on a subject and cite it.
- On your website, include an “About” page and clear contact information (phone numbers, addresses, and contact forms).
- Make clear mention of and display any pertinent honors, accolades, or certifications related to your employment or business.
Increase ‘off-page’ authority
It’s time to consider what you can do for a content that has suffered as a result of a core update. That is because Google also checks how much trust it gives to other pages as well.
Gaining trust through links
There is no doubt that your content will perform much better if numerous authoritative pages link to it. Links are one of the most obvious instances of “off-page” credibility.
If your website is linked from a lot of dubious sources, such as those you paid for through dubious link schemes, you need to take those connections down.
It’s doubtful that this will completely reverse a rankings decrease brought on by a core update, but it might still help you obtain some traffic and lessen its impact.
Therefore, if you’ve noticed a decrease in traffic to a particular page, carefully examine its backlink profile to be sure that:
- There are numerous links to it from authoritative sources
- No connections leading to it which is extremely unnatural.
It’s time to do a white hat link-building outreach and online PR if you see that a piece of content’s link profile is very thin.
Gaining authority through brand mentions
By looking for mentions of your brand on other websites, you can further influence Google’s perception of the authority of your content.
Brand mentions can be increased by:
- Write brilliant topics for guest blogging
- Obtaining an interview in relevant magazines or podcasts
- Gaining more followers on social media and producing content there
- Promoting social media shares
- Participation in forums, blog post comments, etc.
- Speaking at events may result in people mentioning your brand on social media, blogs, and other online publications
Be careful not to overdo things here, as with any SEO strategy; be selective in where you look for brand mentions.
Focus on quality above quantity and stay away from spammy strategies, as with many other aspects of SEO. There are seo hacks that can get you more results without violating Google’s rules.
5. Analyze the competition
The fact that one of your pages is losing rank while a competitor’s page is gaining rank is not an accident. It indicates that they are doing something better.
The good thing is that you can now figure out what it is with the use of SEO tools.
For instance, by utilizing software like Semrush, you can learn:
- What keywords are used more frequently in the copy of a rival than yours?
- Who is referencing that information through links?
- Who is mentioning that brand?
All of this knowledge can assist you in rewriting your content with relevance in mind. It can also help you establish authority by contacting the appropriate parties for links and brand mentions.
As was already noted, Google aims to reward content that people like, so you shouldn’t just rely on software to figure out what’s wrong with your content.
To determine whether the pages and articles that are now outranking yours are simpler to read and use, more appealing to the eye, or more shareable. Always give them close personal scrutiny.
Utilize the results of this research and any new insights to enhance your content.
6. Review your technical SEO fundamentals.
As I’ve mentioned several times throughout this article and as Google has stated, core updates primarily focus on the elements of content that give it authority and relevance.
Now, this might make you believe that fixing technical SEO concerns like page performance, core web vitals, and so on isn’t going to be a part of recovering from a Google core change.
Generally speaking, you’re probably correct.
However, a strong technical setup contributes to a positive user experience. It can make a page appear more relevant or authoritative. Take note that this is an important part of SEO.
Therefore, it makes sense to fix important technical SEO issues that are affecting your user experience as part of any core update recovery process.
Take into account the improvement of:
- Page loading times
- Core Web Vitals scores
- Headings, page titles, and meta descriptions
- Navigation structure
- Internal and external links
- Structured markup
Even if these enhancements don’t directly affect relevance and authority, they can increase traffic overall.
7. Publishing new content
We’ve talked about what you can modify in your current content to assist you in recovering from a Google algorithm change.
Another choice for increasing search traffic is to add fresh material to your website.
You will be giving Google more opportunities to index your content and show it to users by adding more pages and posts to your website. You will also be providing users with more content that they may link to or share.
The important thing is to prioritize quality over quantity in your new articles or pages and to make sure that all new material has the relevance and authority signals I’ve been talking about in this article.
I hope that this article was useful. If you have no time doing the steps above, it’s best to hire an Enterprise SEO agency and let them do the heavy lifting. This way, you can focus on growing your business.