SEO companies integrate both writers and coders in order to boost the results of a page in search engine rankings. Google uses an artificial intelligence engine, Hummingbird, which not only provides results relevant to keywords, but looks for the intent in the search query, returning relevant content. There are also a latest number of developments in the field of SEO which should be applied to your SEO strategies.
Let’s be honest, Google is very smart and they are constantly looking for ways to improve user experience on their website. After all, they wouldn’t have such high market domination if they didn’t. This is why Google is always constantly updating their algorithm, to keep users happy and to also help identify any websites that are thought to be cheating the system.
Google updates their algorithm quite regularly and it is important for you to keep on top of the latest developments and changes to ensure the strategies you are implementing for your website are still effective.
Take a look below at some of the main ways that Google updates impact SEO:
Google Panda Demotes Spammy Sites
For websites that write content that is spammy and repetitive, generally regarded by the academic fields, Google Panda is an artificial intelligence that filters out and demotes links that are low quality. It bypasses content on a site that is irrelevant and full of keyword stuffing. It helps separate low quality websites from high quality websites.
The Google Panda algorithm looks at distinct quality signals aiming for relevance in a particular website, and examines content looking for value for the user, and makes redundant sites that are simply there to make money. When auditing your site for its quality signals, Michael Martinez from SEO Theory recommends evaluating it according to the following criteria:
1. Would you trust the information presented in this article?
Is there clean page design, contact information, neutral colour combinations, reference links to non-commercial or well-known websites, standard payment information, text easily readable and no obscuring promotions?
2. Is this article written by an expert in the topic, or a well-known authority?
Or is the information written quite shallow and not adding much value to the topic? Is there an author profile, has the author explained key terms and concepts, is terminology used to standard practice and are there links to other authoritative sources of information?
3. Does the site have duplicate, overlapping or redundant articles?
If the site has the same type of content with slight variations, it is demoted. It is important to ensure your content is unique and original. If you are worried about plagiarism issues, there is an online tool you can use.
4. Would you be comfortable giving your credit card information to this site?
Does the site have verification, is it a secured website? Can you find terms of service, hours of operation, relevant business information, does it have standard third party payment systems?
5. What is the quality of the writing like?
Does the article or website have stylistic, grammar or punctuation errors? Website with poor grammar etc. are likely to be seen as unprofessional and uncaring about user experience.
6. Is editorial policy handing out content rich and relevant information?
Or is it keywords dictated from a spreadsheet? Content should be dictated by quality user experience, not driven by keyword stuffing. Users want to engage with content that answers their queries.
7. Is this a page you would bookmark?
Would you as a reader come back to the information on this website and use it for future reference? It is important to ensure the information provided on your website is so valuable to reader that they have no choice but to keep coming back!
8. How does the site rank when it comes to sentiment analysis?
Would users complain when they visit your site? Are there too many ads, is it slow-loading, is it non-standard design, is it outdated information, are there contact details available, what kind of user experience are people gaining from your site?
9. Is the site produced with great care and attention to detail?
What are the aesthetics of the site, is it a website that provides information in a pleasing way, or is it sloppy design? A poor design makes it hard for both visitors and search engine bots to look through your website.
10. How relevant, useful and information is the topic on the site?
The length of articles on a site is beginning to rank higher for sites with longer articles. Search engine indexing is now looking for more content that is generated along the lines of academic type principles rather than bland information and irrelevant copy. Authoritative articles are being indexed.
11. Would you expect to see this type of article in a book or magazine?
Sites that present written information that should be able to be found, that is comparable to the quality of a book or magazine publication will be indexed a lot higher.
Ensuring Your Page Complies With Google Updates
The latest release in mobile first indexing has demonstrated the trend that people spend more time looking for items on their smart phones rather than on their laptops. Responsive websites are mandatory, and ensuring that you have a website that is designed for good user experience will prevent your site from being demoted out of the search engine results pages.
User experience design has to come into being merged with quality content. This means that any website without a mobile site will become phased out of search results. It is a good idea to create a whole new version of your website for mobile if you can. At the very least, you should ensure your website has mobile-friendly components.
The latest release of indexing engines from Google, Fred, has done a lot of work to ensure that pages rife with poor content and lots of ads have been demoted from SERPs. Poor quality backlinks to pages that are irrelevant have also made a lot of websites not appear in results. Webmasters are having to reduce ads on pages, and streamline pages to ensure better user experience.
User Experience Design Combined With Quality Content Ensures Ranking Results
Web owners are now having their sites penalised for was pop-ups that obscure the content in a site. The latest Google release, Fred, has been demoting out websites that have pop-ups occur. Ryan Shelley from Search Engine Land has advised that Google is attempting to circumvent black hat SEO sites.
This means that Google is avidly pushing webmasters to create better quality content and user experience design. It means that looking over your current SEO efforts and measure them against the standards of creating high quality content, and ensuring that any backlinks are from credible sources will keep your efforts intact.
Using Google My Business Improves SEO
One of the major Google updates of the last year, Possum, has seen the filtering of sites based on affiliation and geographic location. Using Google My Business, a tool that is freely provided by Google helps businesses to ensure that they have the relevant information indexing engines require. Google is attempting to improve website quality, so providing tools that assist businesses is one way to ensure overall Internet progress.
Keyword Variations Now More Important In SEO
With the latest lot of updates, keyword variations now return different search results. With the refining of the Google robots that now crawl the Internet a lot faster and filtering the results returned based on better quality content, it is important to stay aware of updates. Keyword tools and local search results as part of the Google updates are increasingly important.
More Ways To Stay Ahead Of Google Updates
Google is now wanting to offer a repository of answers rather than linking to authoritative sites; Google is providing answer boxes in the search engine results pages, and having a website with structured data, that can be indexed and then presented will assist in improving rankings.
Matthew Capala from NextWeb discusses the importance of ensuring that your site has the structured data that can be read by bots in order to be placed in the snippets of information contained in the answer boxes.
RankBrain is the artificial intelligence created by Google that analyses and sifts through the millions of queries presented on Google, and then contextualises the results according to the intent of the query. It is currently deployed, and other robots that collect information from Google are pulling better search results to end users.
Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) is a new tool from Google, that ensures websites load on mobile devices instantly, removing any load times. Ensuring that your mobile indexed website has minimal load time will guarantee that it adheres to Google’s user experience standards.
For e-commerce websites, a quality signal that Google examines is whether a site is secured (HTTPS). This means that any information being transmitted such as credit card information is done so via encryption, and helps end users feel more secure about purchasing from that particular online merchant. Google is intending to make a big push towards secure compliance, and e-merchants who fail to secure their sites with security protocols will be demoted in ranking.
Google updates occur approximately 600 times per year. Regular (at least annual) auditing of a website for quality and adherence to user experience design principles will ensure that a page stays high in SERP ranks. Quality of content, that is generated firstly from the principle of ensuring that users have the answers and solutions that they are looking for, rather than spammy useless information assists in maintaining rank.
Google has a set of quality guidelines that they publish and the integration of the latest release of Google updates, that pushes for more responsive mobile friendly sites, with fast load time requires webmasters to test for mobile-friendliness. Google provides tools to test sites against their quality standards, and these are readily available for webmasters. They have a link to their documentation via their Webmaster Blog.
The other integration of local search results and variations in keywords to produce results based on more content rather than randomly generated and irrelevant information also pushes for higher quality in search engine results pages. Structured data, and fast answers to solutions are what Google wants. Stay on top of creating quality user experience, and your SEO will flourish.
What are your thoughts on the latest developments in the Google algorithm. Have you had to make changes in the past to ensure your website is still in Google’s good books? Let us know in the comments below, we would love to hear from you!
Charlotte is a digital marketing and communications practitioner working in our Sydney office. She takes on a range of roles relating to SEO and has a keen interest in studying the SEO industry and its future direction, particularly in relation to content marketing. Charlotte takes her writing very seriously and always seeks ensure the content she produces is of a high standard of quality.