Sometimes when you want the best information out there about updates to the world’s most popular search engine, it’s best to go directly to the source itself! The most recent episode of Google’s “Search Off the Record” podcast features expert Danny Sullivan, as he enthusiastically pulls up a chair to discuss a topic very relevant to the times. Just after the rollout of Google’s August 2023 core algorithm update, he rose to the task of answering questions about how the ranking system now works.
How Google’s Multiple Algorithms Blend for Page Ranking:
Many advertisers are eager and primed with their URL ready to go, product descriptions in tip-top shape, and pay-per-click experts standing by picture Google’s algorithm in the singular form. Panic can easily ensue among even the savviest digital team, as many instances in the past have led them to redo everything and start from scratch when Google changes things up periodically. In its early years, Google only had to make a small handful of updates to its algorithms.
Now, there are thousands of changes every year, with many of them being so slight that they slip under the radar. Panda is a filter that exists to set a bar on content quality. After it has worked its furry and lovable magic with enlisted factors, it assigns a score to web pages. Panda was once known as an update but is now perceived as a foundational and necessary component of the ranking system. Here there exists a bit of quality control for tactics such as thin content, keyword stuffing, spam, and duplicate content.
Maintaining Search Quality with Updates and Systems:
Any eager team ready to put a plan together can refer to this document to see how search has evolved with incorporating current systems, along with those who are now retired. Hummingbird was an update that affected nearly 90% of search results in 2013, and enabled Google to follow the search intent instead of using the keywords as the only existing basis for extracting suitably matched results. One misconception is that each new update will see teams completely reworking their SEO strategy, but this is sometimes not the case.
Assuring Engaged Audiences: The SEO Shift Toward Authenticity
A recent article from the Search Engine Journal was able to offer encouragement along with guidance regarding Google’s recent updates. Some of the most helpful discussions over the last month have had a focus on authenticity, with Google experts noting how authentic content is an excellent differentiator when competing against AI. As some of the upper and most visible layers of content creation become a bit more synthetic, there will be a very prominent and heavy-hitting craving for authentic and helpful information.
Browsing Without Borders: Embracing a User-Centric Environment:
Even though frequent updates to Google’s algorithms can tend to make some marketers very nervous, one of the best ways to cut through the sometimes-difficult medium is to add context that is helpful and personal. One of the ways to remain consistently relevant and compliant as far as Google’s algorithms are concerned is to provide concrete, functional information. Think deeply about how the individual reading your content referring to needs to know to use it. What are the directions? How can one complete the experience feeling satisfied? If there is a valuable story to be told, don’t “dress it up” too far beyond belief.
SEO-Rewired: Elevating Human-First Content
Another one of Google’s latest 2023 helpful content updates took a very bold step towards improving relevance. A new focus on quality and user satisfaction is influencing content creators to better the overall search experience by conveying a consistently genuine tone. Google can now actually discern between content that has a high value and content that is out there primarily for search visibility. Even though AI-written content is going to be soon released in high volumes, much of it will appear as “spun” to Google and have a harder time converting.
The most useful forms of content are engaging, useful, and come from a position of authority. Keeping a primary focus is much harder now during an age where users are bombarded, and shelving this ensures clarity and robust searchability. Within the “Helpful content update” from this summer, your rankings can be lower for all the content on your site if Google determines that a significant portion of your website’s content is considered ‘search engine first.’ One of the best practices that has arisen post-AI content help take care of your readers. It’s best to ask yourself if your content leaves your readers feeling like they need to search again to obtain superior information.
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