The best way to generate sustainable traffic is to optimize your website for search engine optimization.
It has been discovered that Google makes so many algorithm changes every year, the majority of which are publicly announced while some are not made known to the public.
Have you noticed a swing in your blog traffic or discovered that your organic traffic dropped or increased suddenly? Then a new Google algorithm change may have been made.
What is a Google Algorithm Update?
Google algorithm update is a situation when the source code behind the Google search engine is altered to suit specific conditions so that it becomes more competent to serve the most appropriate query to the end-user.
Google works like a question and answer engine; a query is made from an end-user from various parts of the world, while the response is generated via the Google search engine result page to answer that query.
Over the years, Google has become more than just a question and answer engine to become more competent to generate the query that will satisfy the end-user, and this has been made possible by a constant update of their source code to solve more problems.
Suppose you have noticed the Google search engine. In that case, it works like a human being because of the recent introduction of artificial intelligence to work with present technological innovations such as image query, voice search, and even location search. All of this would not have been possible without constant algorithm updates.
Reasons Why Google Update Their Algorithm.
Google algorithm update has long been seen as a nightmare for most bloggers, but in a real sense, there are valid reasons why these algorithm updates are being made constantly; most of them include.
1. To Improve User Experience.
It would be wrong when a user uses the search engine only to enter a query and could not find the answer or did not get a recommendation.
It worsens when they cannot find anything relevant to what they are looking for on the search engine result page.
This is more reason why Google rolls out this algorithm updates almost now and then to be able to serve the end-user what they need.
2. To Deal With Black Hat SEO Hackers.
Back in the days when Google was much younger, all you needed to do to rank the SERPs was write an article of just 500 words coupled with a lot of keyword stuffing, and you would type it in less than one month.
Most black hat SEO hackers even go as far as hunting for backlinks from unknown sources to rank as quickly as possible; without constant algorithm updates, these guys would not allow hardworking bloggers like me and you to get the visibility we deserve.
There are only a few devoted bloggers on the internet who take extra precautions when running a blog, and one of the ways they can achieve this is by writing excellent and informative content on their blog. These hard-working bloggers often make their content as informative as possible, but without constant algorithm updates on Google, their blog may not rank the SERPs because of the black-hat SEO hackers.
Major Google Algorithm update You Should Know.
The Google search engine has evolved from a question and answer machine into an intelligent suggestion engine. Have you tried making a query via Google search lately, and you missed out on the spelling of some words, you find out that some similar suggestions are made to you, an example of a Google algorithm update, the list goes on and on.
This section will give a timeline of past and present Google algorithm updates to help guide you on approaching SEO correctly.
1. The Panda – February 24, 2011
The Panda algorithm update assigns a so-called “quality score” or Domain Authority to web pages. This score became a vital ranking factor used to rank web pages.
This Google algorithm update permits the use of a website Domain Authority to rank its website.
This also affected the rank of brand new websites on the Google search engine; at this very point in time, so many new websites with quality content were not allowed to rank because they had a deficient domain authority, so many accused Google of introducing a popular SEO scenario called The Google Sandbox Effect which restricted new websites from ranking till a certain period after they might have attained a specific quality score or domain authority as so likely called.
In conclusion, your website’s domain authority is determined by how much you rank; the more your domain authority increases, the more organic traffic you get.
2. The Penguin – April 24, 2012
The Google Penguin’s algorithm update was devised to down-rank websites whose backlinks were unnatural.
Long before this update was made, all you needed to do as a blogger was get backlinks at all costs; even though you wrote harmful content, you would still rank the SERPS, but this update was made to contradict this popular SEO hack at that time, and allow only quality websites to rank higher in search engine.
The bottom line remains the same, stop attempting to build backlinks to your website; the worst thing you can ever do is try to buy backlinks from an unknown website; it can hurt your SEO.
3. The Hummingbird – August 22, 2013
The Hummingbird algorithm was designed to help fight against keyword stuffing and low-quality content.
Most black-hat SEO strategies revolved around stuffing keywords to be able to attract Google to rank their websites better.
The Hummingbird allows Google to decipher search queries better and provide results that match searcher intent. The Hummingbird algorithm makes it feasible for a page to rank for a question even if it doesn’t contain the exact words the searcher entered.
This is achieved with the help of natural language processing that relies on latent semantic indexing, co-occurring terms and synonyms.
4. Mobile – April 21, 2015
The mobile google algorithm update allows mobile-friendly websites to rank ahead of non-responsive websites since search queries have altered the focus from a desktop to a mobile version of every website on the internet. In addition, this update stresses the need to implement a responsive website design when creating your website.
5. RankBrain – October 26, 2015
The RankBrain Google algorithm update is a part of Google’s Hummingbird algorithm.
A machine learning system helps Google recognise the purpose behind queries and serve best-matching search results in acknowledgement to those queries.
6. Medic – May 4, 2018
The Google Medic update was targeted at medical websites and other websites that have to do with potentially life-altering decisions such as finance, law, and education. Although not explicitly validated, Google representatives have hinted that the update executed some of the E-A-T (expertise, authority, trust) signals from the Quality Rater Guidelines document.
This update allows only health and potentially life-altering websites with very high authority and trust to rank more on the Google search engine than a lesser website.
7. Bert – October 22, 2019
The Bert Google algorithm update applies natural language processing technology to understand search queries, interpret text, identify entities and similarities between entities.
8. Core Updates – 2017-present
The recent Google algorithm update has been called code named core updates, with less transparency as to which part of the search engines are improved on.
Like Google engineers do not want people sneaking in on their search engines and trying to hack them, so they decided to make this update anonymous.
9. Google Spam Update – 2021
The Google spam update is another Google algorithm update to remove poor quality content that gets a higher ranking via crooked link building strategies such as guest posting, paid links, and affiliate links.
To effectively handle the Google spam update, you need to make sure your contents are rich and highly informative; also, make sure that It is essential to have proper tagging links if they follow an exchange of money. I prefer using various rel tags in your links like:
Rel = “sponsored”: This is used when a link is placed as someone gets paid from it.
Rel = “nofollow”: Users prefer this when linking to unsafe websites with which they do not want to be associated.
Rel = “UGC”: It is User-Generated Content where anyone can add the content without editorial review.
How To Recover From A Google Algorithm Update.
Whenever Google makes an algorithm update, a lot seems to happen to every website; most times, new websites are the ones to take the hit the most because they have very little authority backing them up, so they fall, and most times, the result of the latest update helps them to get back up again only if their blogs are search engine optimised.
Before going further into this article, I wrote a comprehensive guide to getting started with SEO; click the link below.
1. Make Sure You Use A Responsive Website Design.
The latest Google update in the year 2021 has been speculated to be for a mobile-first website, so therefore you must design mobile-friendly websites.
You can check if your website is mobile-friendly by using the inbuilt Google page speed test via the Google search console tool.
If your website is not entirely mobile friendly and you would still like to optimise your website for mobile-friendliness further, you can use the Google AMP. To learn about how the Google AMP works, click the link.
Having a responsive website is the first criteria for ranking on Google when your website is not optimised, there are many chances that your website will be affected when a new Google update is rolled out. Remember, Google is committed to serving the best solution possible to its end users.
2. Write Compelling and Great Content.
Content is King, and as they always say, this has not changed; the majority of the Google guidelines on search engine optimisation revolves around content.
Don’t steal people’s content on the internet, though you can use them as a reference and always ensure to make those content your own.
Also, don’t use content reformation tools like Quill to reframe someone else’s content online; Google has become smart enough to identify these faults, and you will get hit by Google algorithm update.
One way to keep ranking on Google is to make sure that you edit your previous post with new and valid information.
If you find thin or low-quality content when making your technical checks, it might be worth improving these pages or consolidating them to form more detailed content.
The bottom line for you is to write excellent content; you have no reason to fear any Google algorithm update.
I wrote a comprehensive guide on how to write content that ranks on Google; click the link below to get started.
3. Always Use The Google Search Console.
I wrote an in-depth article on the art of technical SEO audit; click the link below to learn how to audit your website.
4. Stop Trying To Hack your Way Through SEO.
I see so many people try to hack their way to rank on Google; the bad news is that it will not work, you may enjoy your victory for a short period, but indeed the next google algorithm update will nullify your victory.
5. Learn SEO.
In my very few years as a blogger, having studied so many blogs on the internet, I have discovered that not too many bloggers understand what SEO is all about.
Most blogger comes into blogging without adequate knowledge of SEO, which can affect their search engine ranking or even affect their rankings whenever there is a major Google algorithm update.
I wrote an in-depth guide on how to get started with SEO as a beginner; click the link below to get started.
6. Update Your Contents Regularly.
One mistake made mainly by bloggers is the abandonment of their existing content; all they do is try to write as many as possible; they even do so to the extent where they write an article on a topic twice, which can lead to keyword cannibalization causing their contents to rank the less on the SERP’s.
As a blogger, don’t write every crap you see; it is not about the number of your content but the quality that matters; even if you can write 20 qualitative articles on a blog niche you know very well, that is enough. Subsequently, all you need to keep ranking is just come back to regularly update those articles with new pieces of information.
Updating your content regularly sends a signal to search engines to rank your content again, ranking for more keywords and a significant increase in organic traffic.
When updating your content, you don’t just add two lines of a sentence and go away; Google will not see it as a significant update and force it to ignore your article.
The best way to update is by adding a whole paragraph, removing a piece of outdated information, and even adding more images and videos; doing this makes your content fresh and ready to rank for new keywords and bring in more organic traffic.
7. Optimize The images On Your Websites.
The Google search engine is not intended to read images; it only does this with the aid of texts. Therefore, you should optimise the images on your website with alt-text – a summary of the picture.
The best way to do this is to add a keyword variation of what your post is about; if you are writing about, let’s say, “How To Start A Blog”, then you should add the keyword ” How To Start A Blog To all images used in the article.
This can be updated within your content management system (CMS), e.g. WordPress, by altering the image and editing the “Alt Text” field.
8. Audit Outbound Links.
Google has been designed to clamp down on websites that provide dead links on their websites; you may lose your website rankings by this mistake alone.
It is necessary to check your outbound links to ensure that they are linking to appropriate and trustworthy sources. Linking out to reliable sources can add meaning to your content for Google and the user. This will make the Google search engine trust you for adding further definition to your content. One way to do this is by using the free Google search console tool provided by Google.
9. Reclaim Lost Backlinks
Backlink reclamation is the act of getting lost or broken links towards your website.
You decided to write great content, or better still, you did a content audit, and you chose to edit the URL of the particular post that already had some backlinks to it. When someone from the internet mistakenly follows those links, they land on a 404 page, causing the Google search engine to sense a flag signal on your website.
You can identify broken backlinks using tools such as the Google search console, SEM Rush, and other SEO tools. Reclaiming your broken backlinks involves reaching out to the webmaster in charge of that referring domain and asking them to update the URL.
Some may not respond, but it’s worth the effort for those who do respond and update the link for you. This is also an ideal time to propose collaboration on a new blog post.
If the site owners were not to respond, you should make a 301 redirect the URL to another page on your website.
The bottom line of this discussion is to try as much as possible to write excellent and compelling content; content is king!.
Even when you read the official Google guidelines for ranking higher on a search engine, all they ask you to do is to write more and more content. There are no shortcuts to anywhere worth going; the hard work will pay off.
If you have yet to start a blog, here is an in-depth article I wrote to help you get started; click the link below to get started.