The world of digital marketing pretty much revolves on Google Updates, and savvy marketers know how crucial it is to stay well-informed of these changes to SEO protocols and procedures. Everyone’s antennae are certainly up now because there were updates made in September 2021, and Inc.com explains what they are. Once you understand more about these updates, you will know what you need to do differently to optimize your website and other digital assets.
The Latest Google Updates
As always, these kinds of Google Updates mean that you need to fall into line as soon as possible; otherwise, you may start experiencing less traffic while your competition is making the most of the new rules. The first changes to SEO involve links. Google was known to send users away from properties via links to other retailers, blogs and YouTube videos etc., but only if the sites offered the best user experiences. This process has been refined and is more focused on key elements that people search for. As a result, your site may be getting less traffic.
You may also notice that search results pages have many more images on them. The newest ones are off to the right, to give the results more visual appeal and help users determine if the page has what they are searching for. Keep in mind that more images may mean fewer search results per page. The results also have to share more limited space with paid ads, shopping suggestions and other images to help them narrow down their selections.
Keeping Up with Changes to SEO
Although Google has not shared any guidelines for their updates to advise marketers how to stay on top of these changes, your strategy has to apply to all of Google’s properties, including YouTube. As a rule of thumb, Google is dedicated to giving users the best answers to their questions, and this should be your goal as well. Your sites should have fresh content posted often, and should answer customer questions quickly and concisely. Google does use artificial intelligence (AI) with their updates and uses it to weed out unrelated information and fluff that might be on your site.
WordStream describes an earlier update made in February of 2021: their “About This Website” feature. On the right side of each organic search result, there is a small icon with three vertical buttons. If you click on those, a new window opens up with information pertaining to site security, when the website was originally indexed by Google, and if other websites link to the page with your same search terms. To take advantage of this, you can use quality backlinks, match the intent of your keywords with your content and ensure that your site uses https.
Other Important Google Updates
There was also an update made to Google’s product reviews in April of 2021. Instead of just showing lists of summarized products, they now have more in-depth research, original content and analysis. To benefit from this, you can share unique content that complements what a manufacturer provides, provide expert product knowledge and offer quantitative measurements for product and service performance.
A June 2021 spam update indicated that Google wanted to start cracking down on sites that have a lot of spam links on them. To combat this, update your site’s SSL certificate, and perform regular cleanups of possible spam actions (multiple requests from one IP address, for example). You can also use the Google Search Console to scan for security problems and use noindex, which prevents Google from indexing “low-trust” pages.
The February 2021 passage ranking update is also noteworthy and uses AI to index individual passages like sentences and paragraphs from web pages. Through this, passages can appear as featured snippets that can quickly address specific queries. But instead of optimizing posts for better passage rankings, WordStream advises businesses to structure content to make it easier for Googlebot to index your webpages. They also recommend providing more in-depth, quality on-topic content and targeting long-tail keywords.
How to Keep Up with Changes to SEO
This is an ongoing, constantly evolving process that keeps webmasters and others very, very busy: Searchengineland estimates that Google adjusts their search algorithm approximately 500 to 600 times each year! Fortunately, the majority of these changes to SEO do not impact things that much, but others are quite significant. The best way to keep on top of these changes is to analyze your site’s web traffic often: Look at your analytics platform and see how well your target keywords are ranking.
Google’s main site also shares information about their named updates, and includes outlines as they are rolled out – Searchengineland also summarizes some of the most important ones. Be aware that older updates can be obsolete after a while, but it is wise to be familiar with as many as you can in order to understand how they evolve and work their ways toward improving user search experiences.
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