Coincidence that Google colors match Chucky’s jumpsuit? We think not!
If your business has had a website for two, five, ten, or some other number of years then you probably know what it’s like to fear Google. Or should we say, a Google algorithm update, even if you didn’t know that was what lay behind a swift change in your rank. There’s nothing quite as stressful as checking up on your first-page position, only to find that your site has dropped down to the bottom, or worse, page-two, which may as well be page-10. From there, the phone stops ringing and your email inbox is littered with nothing but personal notes from friends and family – no customers.
It’s true that as a business owner dependent upon online marketing you are at the mercy of the numerous Google algorithm updates that occur throughout the fiscal year. In fact, a MAJOR one just hit on June 3 2019, so if you’ve experienced something fishy at the start of the summer season, that may be it.
While it may seem unfair that your online business is so reliant on the tech giant, you’re not as powerless as you think. On the flip side, you (or your marketing personnel) may be as much to blame as the interns writing search code from behind the walls of their cubicle in Mountain View CA.
It really comes down to whether or not your abiding by the laws, that know it or not, Google has been laying out for well over a decade now. Those that don’t follow the lay of the search land stand to lose a lot, while those that inform themselves and respond accordingly will reap the benefits. Below we take a look at why you may indeed need to live in fear of the next Google search update. In turn, you will also see where you need to make a swift change in the right direction.
5 Reasons Why You Should Be Afraid of Google Algorithm Updates and What You Can Do About It
YOUR CONTENT IS STALE
The bulk of the Google search updates that run unannounced through the year have to do with content. Sites that deliver deep (500+ words) and meaningful content (related to questions your prospective customers have) on a regular basis (bi-monthly or weekly) tell Google that they care about their customers’ demand for relevant information. If you don’t provide it, you’re basically telling Google’s search bots that you don’t really care to stay relevant. Eventually they will kick you to the curb to make room for competitor sites that care more about the consumer call for content.
Look at your site right now. If you haven’t added a new blog post, page, press release, infographic, or even photo in the past month you will need to take action.
YOUR KEYWORD TARGETS DON’T MATCH CONTENT
The Google core update that rocked the business world early in June was and wasn’t about content. Instead of looking at whether or not a website added content on a regular basis, the algorithm looked more at content quality and whether or not it was directly relevant to their keyword targets of a website.
“In a general way, these kinds of updates are about improving how Google understands search queries, improving how Google understands web pages and bringing both sides together to provide more relevant search results.” (Search Engine Journal)
If your content updates don’t semantically match the the keyword targets you need to rank for to secure customers, it will be a fruitless endeavor that delivers little to no ROI. For example, look at the title tag and heading of your homepage, then look at the content (paragraphs, image and/or video descriptions, call-to-action prompts) and confirm whether or not the two align. If not, make necessary adjustments to the semantics – just don’t be spammy by using exact match keywords all over the place, which is a whole other concern altogether.
YOUR WEBSITE SUCKS ON SMARTPHONES
Back in July 2018 Google launched the mobile first index which is essentially an algorithm update that states:
“Mobile-first indexing means that Googlebot will now use the mobile version of your site for indexing and ranking, to better help our (primarily mobile) users find what they’re looking for. Google’s crawling, indexing, and ranking systems have historically used the desktop version of your site’s content, which can cause issues for mobile searchers when the desktop version differs from the mobile version.” (Google)
This will forever be a primary qualifier for site rank, and month in and out Google bots will assess your site to see if it delivers users with a positive mobile experience.
The next time you’re sitting down to lunch with friends and family, grab everyone’s smartphone (assuming a variation of iPhone and Android) and take a look at your website, navigating from page to page and attempt to complete a call-to-action (complete a form, etc.) to check how it all functions. If there is any issue with aesthetics, page speed, or any other function, it’s probably time for a website upgrade.
YOU HAVE BAD BACKLINKS
This problem is connected to those business owners who have used an online marketer to secure a large number of backlinks for their website. Nine times out of ten these online marketers will have solicited you from overseas (India, Philippines, Ukraine, etc.) and promised you the promised land – Google page-one rank. It may have even worked for awhile. It may be working right now. But if you have PAID for “x amount” (greater than 10) of links per month you will need to live in constant fear of a Google algorithm update that can knock your brand off the top shelf and on to the floor with little chance of getting back up.
This is because of the fact that overseas link builders are getting your site involved in illegal (to Google, that is) link schemes. If at any point in time you, your marketing staff, or a prior SEO (even local) has secured a large number of backlinks for payment, you will need to drop everything and have us run a backlink check to gauge your level of risk. This falls under the critical category.
YOU DON’T HAVE BACKLINKS
Yep, we just told you that if you have a bunch of backlinks you should be afraid. So what the heck are we doing telling you should fear not having backlinks?
It all comes down to quality.
Bad links are the ones we addressed above. They can sink your website. Good links, are those that comes from high authority websites that produce content that at some point is relevant to your own. The online authors and editors of these websites will have found value in something that you published, and will want to link to it as a point of reference, providing you with fair attribution in the process. This will happen naturally, should they find your content on Google search and/or through social network posting, but it is also OK to identify authors/editors and reach out to them to let them know that you have content that their readers may appreciate.
This is what we deem to be a legitimate backlink building campaign.
It starts with content creation, and ends with smart publishing practices and media outreach. Without doing one or both, you will not benefit from more rewarding Google search bots, those that don’t look for “bad practices” but “good practices”. In this scenario, you don’t fear the penalty of a Google algorithm update; you instead fear a lack of recognition and loss of positive reinforcement. If your website does not produce quality content (as per item #1 and #2) and is not proactive in pushing this content out into the world, you can expect very little love from Google.
If your business website is guilty of any of the above you should be wary of the Google updates that occur each and every month. If your site exhibits a combination, or all of the above, then you should be afraid, very afraid. Thankfully, you’re reading his, which means you have tapped into a resource that can provide a way out. If you’re tired of fearing these pesky Google search updates, contact Digital Marketing Collective today for an SEO audit that will correct your course.