Google's core mission, to "organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful," means that they regularly need to update their search algorithm to sort through the hundreds of billions of webpages to find the most relevant, valuable results for their users. And for some of the more extensive updates, the ones that can have a major impact on the Search Engine Results Page (SERPs), they will often be given names like Panda, Hummingbird or the unfriendly-sounding Mobilegeddon, to help marketers keep track of these algorithms updates.
Staying on top of the Google algorithm updates can be a full-time job (and one of the reasons why working with a WSI Consultant can be a life-saver!), and that's why I've put together this post on why these changes happen and what you need to know.
Why Updates are Important
Google’s algorithm updates are very important for web admins and digital marketers. They are designed to help us do our job better in future, enabling us to reach our audience through better, more accurate search results. Unfortunately, they can also lead to short-term changes in rankings. Website operators will need to take careful note of these and adjust their SEO approach to work with the updates and restore or improve their SERPs.
How Updates Make Search Better
The aim of Google’s updates is always to improve the quality of search results. Most changes focus on one or two specific features, such as fighting spam or - as is the case with the latest update - improving the rank results of fast websites. The result of an update should always be a better experience for Google’s users: search results that are more relevant, accurate and refined. From the point of view of the marketer or SEO expert, these updates can cause a few short-term issues but, once we adjust to the updates, we can use the improvements to help us reach our audiences and offer them more relevant content.
Core Updates Involve Broad Improvements to Search
Google makes updates to its algorithms all the time, most of which are minor tweaks to specific functions and features and are usually not noticeable to users. However, core updates are done less frequently, and they involve more substantial updates, which can result in noticeable changes. Everyday users may not see these shifts, but those who run and optimize websites almost always do. Here are some of the recent core updates that Google has completed:
Core Web Vitals & Page Experience Updates
One vital new tool that Google has introduced recently is the Page Experience Report (found within Google's Search Console), which reflects data on the page experience metrics of your site over the past 90 days. It shows what percentage of your pages have provided a good page experience, as well as the number of impressions each URL has received in organic search results.
All web admins already know that content relevance is not the only factor that drives search engine rankings; the experience you offer your audience on each page is also vital. The data in your Page Experience Report will help you improve your customers’ experience of your website, offering accurate analysis of UX on each page and enabling you to take focused action to improve and optimize as necessary.
What You Need to Know About Web Core Vitals and Your Google Ranking
Core Web Vitals measure page experience signals to ensure that pages offer an engaging and satisfying experience for web users. Its metrics include:
Largest Contentful Paint (LCP), which measures how long it takes for the largest image on a page to load;
First Input Delay (FID), which gauges how long it takes for the page to respond when a user clicks a button; and
Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS), which measures the page’s visual stability.
There is no doubt that Core Web Vitals are an important ranking factor, and must be taken into account in creating and maintaining each of your web pages. In addition to improving the relevance and readability of your content, you must also give attention to your LCP, FID and CLS if you want to boost and maintain your SERPs.
Google July 2021 Core Update
A continuation of the update that took place a month earlier, Google’s July 2021 core update was not focused on any particular region, website category or language. Google calls it a broad core update designed to help the search engine put better, more relevant results in front of its users. After this update, your search rankings may experience a bit of a shake-up. Some results may move down a position or two, while others may get a boost. Be sure to monitor any changes in your SERPs and know that the core update may cause these shifts.
Google June 2021 Core Update
Google also explained that the July update was a continuation of the one they introduced in June. However, some of the planned improvements for June were not quite ready, so the company decided to implement those that were, following up a month later with the elements that were still under development. Therefore, it is possible that your rankings may have changed in June and that those changes would then have been reversed a month later when the July updates went into effect. Google says that most websites wouldn’t notice the changes, but SEO professionals who manage many sites will likely see their impact.
Our Philosophy on Core Algorithm Updates
Core updates are necessary and ultimately help us, as digital marketers, to do our jobs better. They very often don’t produce any significant changes in search Philippines Photo Editor rankings. However, we understand that this is not a reflection on the website itself or its content or SEO strategy when they do. As Google says, there is nothing wrong with a website that drops in rankings after an update. If a website is affected, all that is required is a slight adjustment in SEO tactics. With the latest update in mind, I'd recommend you assess your current keyword usage and re-examine your website’s competitive position relative to others in the same sector, and adjust your approach as necessary. Progress is no cause for panic; these updates will serve your website in the long run. And if you have any questions, you can always contact the team at WSI for help!
What Web Admins Should Know About Google’s Core Updates
The first thing for all web admins to remember is that a change in rankings after an update does not indicate that something is wrong with the website. Google advises that you continue to focus on your content and ensure that you offer your audience the best you can. Analyze your content's accuracy, originality and relevance and improve it constantly - which you should be doing anyway, regardless of Google’s updates. You may want to relook your keywords and focus on optimizing pages that have seen a significant drop in rankings since the update. Again, this does not involve fixing anything but instead continually honing and optimizing your content.