Google’s constant updates to its algorithm can have a significant impact on search results, sometimes with serious consequences for certain businesses and sectors.
One of the most talked about in recent months has been Google’s so-called “medic update”.
“In this instance, health, medical and fitness websites suffered changes to their organic search results and the local search results of their map listings.”
Jonathan explains why the Google algorithm is so important, but also why businesses should not lose the true focus of their online marketing in response to it.
Why Does the Google Algorithm Matter?
“While people largely take finding things online for granted, their simple click and search activity is underpinned by a technical language that keeps evolving.”
This is the Google algorithm, which does the serious legwork in an online search, looking for web pages that contain the keywords the searcher is using. Certain web pages will rank higher than others on the resulting search engine results page.
“The key thing to note is that Google is user-driven in how it makes changes to this algorithm. It is looking for the best way to rank the sites that contain the information people are looking for.”
This means the algorithm is increasingly sophisticated, assessing the critical importance of things beyond the keywords themselves, including brand authority and user intent.
“Google wants to rank, more highly, the sites it deems trustworthy so to make your SEO work means doing a lot more than trying to lever keywords into your web content”
This concern about trustworthy sites is especially prominent where healthcare or financial information is involved. Hence the recent impact of the “medic update”.
What is Google Looking For?
“Through its algorithm, Google is looking at issues such as, how often is a site updated and how well maintained it is. It wants to know if the information there is accurate, and if the contact details are easy to find.”
Google ranks sites more highly if it rates them as reputable and authoritative. Conversely, it can penalise those sites it finds are not.
What Should Businesses Do?
“Don’t treat your website as static, or assume that all is well. Google is evolving even if you aren’t. You must update your information where necessary and ensure that everything online tallies with everything else when it comes to your business details.”
At the same time, while managing content is vital, so is the actual design of a website.
“Ensure that your site looks trustworthy, and that there aren’t any issues to do with navigation or compatibility.”
“Ultimately, the issue is not to try and satisfy Google, but your customers”
“If you create the right kind of content, crafted to appeal to your target audience, then, logically, this should put your site in good stead. Ultimately, your online activity should be user-driven.”