The only constant is a state of flux. Sobering thought as a year comes to an end, but on the technology front, change is exciting. Change is an infusion of fresh blood. Take Google SEO updates and algorithm changes, for instance. Keeping track of the changes for the year 2017 is important for your website and business to do well.
SEO updates from the Google stables
In December, many search experts speculated that there were changes in ‘search’. The set of changes or update, if you must call it, was given nicknames by search experts including Maccabees by search marketing expert Barry Schwartz. Accordingly, sites that got hit by the changes had, according to the expert, huge keyword permutation arrays. There were also sites that were hit because they were very heavy on the ad placement front though they were driven by content. Although there is no acknowledgement from Google that it was any major update, the search engine confirmed that were some minor changes around the time that many sites thought they were affected. A Google spokesperson only said that these were part of their routine exercise to make improvements.
In August too, there was talk of a Google Algorithm and ranking update. This too stays unconfirmed by Google but search experts noticed from their review of sites that pages that were negatively impacted in the search rankings were those where users were directed to pages which couldn’t provide the answers to their queries but gave a lot of other content that was supplementary. Sites that had category pages and failed to meet or beat expectations of users failed. Also, sites were users were lured into clicking ads failed. Pop-ups that annoyed, ad elements that pushed down the key content on the screen, and full-screen adverts all pegged down search rankings, according to Glenn Gabe, digital marketing expert and columnist. Aggressive advertising in combination with poor/low content dealt a double blow to some sites.
Right said Fred!
In the first half of 2017, in March, the SEO world speculated about one more unconfirmed Google update that was nicknamed Fred following a Google insider’s tweet that all updates just be called Fred! That update was also not confirmed by Google, but SEO forums went abuzz with how certain sites saw rankings drop. Accordingly, the algorithm is said to bring down rankings of sites that have content that is poor or not of great value, or those that are aimed at ads but masked with wafer-thin content. Sites that have problems with mobile were also said to have been affected by Fred as also sites that have barriers against a good user experience.
Before the March update, there were a few unnamed updates in February first week as well, and they were related to keyword relevancy and also other issues like poor user engagement, deceptive ads and other barriers to a good user experience.
In general, if you want to benefit from algorithm and SEO updates, make sure you maintain extreme clarity on your site. Ensure that the site is maintained well, with zero errors and loads well on any device, including mobile. Pay attention to the content you provide — the more industry-specific and authentic the content is, the better. Also, testimonials, user reviews and high-quality backlinks contribute to your site’s reputation. Optimizing your pages for voice search will also help you in case of future updates.
The more you try to be of value to your user, and sincerely at that, the more you will benefit in the rankings. At least, that seems to be the message from Google’s updates and algorithm changes over the years.