Once again reminding us that high-quality content is the best way to build trust with your audience, Google has completed its latest Core Update, aimed at improving results and demoting low-quality content.
Google uses Core Updates to improve the ranking systems of its search engine algorithms, and as we know from its guidelines, the aim is to promote trustworthy, helpful content from authoritative sources, while moving low quality content further down the rankings.
Google first announced its Core Update on 5 October and after a gradual roll out, completed it as of 19 October.
So, why should you care about this latest update?
From a user perspective, this update undoubtedly brings positive developments in our online search journey. The assurance that the websites we use and the content we engage with are undergoing more rigorous evaluations for trustworthiness, will be promising for our search experience.
For content creators and website managers, this means it’s time to keep an eye on your search engine rankings and be extra mindful that the content you produce offers true value. You can do this by observing Google’s Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines and using the EEAT acronym to guide your efforts.
During these Core Updates, we often find that clients may voice concerns about their positioning in SERPs; some might notice increased traffic and visibility, where others might see a fluctuation in ranking positions and traffic to certain pages. If this is you, there’s no need to panic, but there is a need to review your content and make sure it’s meeting the guidelines of the latest Helpful Content Update. (Here’s a helpful guide to producing high quality content to help you out.)
How can you make the most of Core Updates?
We spoke to our Content & Search Manager, Alex Haswell to see what advice he has during times of Core Updates and he reminded us that content is a full time job that should be considered proactively, not reactively. The good news is, as long as you make positive incremental changes, the impact during updates should be minimal.
He shared, “creating high quality content is key to a successful strategy. The best way to succeed online is to consistently publish content that speaks directly to your target audience. Before publishing any content, you should ask yourself what value it is providing. Is it offering good advice, or educating the audience? Is it showing that you are an expert to be listened to and trusted? As long as the answer to these questions is yes, you shouldn’t be impacted too much by Core Updates.”
He continued, “it’s important to remember that Google seeks to send visitors to the most relevant page for their search terms. Providing high quality content is one necessary element of the process in getting visitors to your site. The next is ensuring that they have a great experience when they get there; whether that be on desktop, mobile or tablet.”
The best way to keep your content on track is by implementing a strategy with a manageable but consistent timetable. Luckily for you, Alex has already written a guide to help you create a content strategy.
Google cracks down on spam
The October 2023 Spam Update should bring a huge sigh of relief to website readers and content creators everywhere! According to Search Engine Journal, this latest update targets thin, copied, misleading and overly promotional content. In its announcement, Google said the latest spam update was based on user feedback and hopes to improve search for users worldwide.
It’s been a busy month for Google updates and as always, us mere mortals are at the behest of the search algorithms. It’s great to see Google making regular changes to ensure that those of us creating valuable, high-quality content are rewarded with better search engine rankings and visibility, while those creating ‘spammy’ content are demoted.
Our key takeaways from the latest update are:
- Keep an eye on your search rankings and regular assess pages that may have fallen down the rankings – could that page benefit from a content refresh?
- Make a plan to ensure you’re regularly creating and updating the content on your website. High quality content will be rewarded with those coveted page one results, so take the time to understand your audience and offer them true value.
- Conduct a website audit – put yourself in the shoes of your typical visitor and explore your website as if you were them. Are you having a good experience? Is the content offered helping you to make a purchase decision or guiding you to your desired call to action?
- Don’t engage in spammy behaviour – hidden texts and links, keyword stuffing, and misleading claims are a thing of the past. Make your website a nice place to visit and your audience (and Google) will reward you.
- Don’t fall into the AI trap – using AI to generate content seems like a great way to speed up the creation process. In some cases this might be true, but AI can’t offer the human element that your audience needs. If you’re using AI to create your content, always add your knowledge and expertise to it, or risk being demoted in search engine rankings.