Google core updates happen when the search engine giant makes broad changes to its search algorithm. These don't happen suddenly—Google often posts in advance that these updates will be rolling out. Broad Core Algorithm updates typically happen a few times a year.
You shouldn't have to do anything if your website is already up to scratch SEO-wise. Core updates don't change the way Google views your website. Rather, it usually changes the emphasis of the ranking factors. For example, page speed load time might have a greater or lesser effect on SERP rankings than bounce rate for a page.
Core updates don't change the fundamentals of the algorithm and its ranking factors. So the best thing you can do before a core update rollout is to continue to optimise your site following Google's best practice guidelines. These include producing high-quality content, building a user-friendly website, and focusing on user experience rather than keyword jamming.
After a Google core update, you should go back to the SEO basics on your website, especially if you find that your search rankings tank. It's not necessarily that you've done anything wrong—if you were ranking highly before. It may just mean that your competitors are doing some things a little better than you are. Here are some basics to cover if you want your rankings to improve after a core update.
Above all else, Google is all about websites providing unique and helpful content that matches user intent. Therefore, it makes sense to make this your first port of call when trying to improve rankings. This means having expert content creators write quality content that shows the writer is enthusiastic about what they're talking about.
In addition, make sure your site sticks to Google's E-E-A-T policy, which stands for Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trust. These are the ingredients to serving a near-perfect content quality on your website. If you have quality content that can be trusted and verified, and if reliable sources support your content, it signals to Google that you fulfil the E-E-A-T guidelines.
The way in which the navigation of a site functions is extremely important for SEO. That means getting it right can vastly improve your search engine rankings. According to Search Engine Land, one way to do this is to 'silo' your website. This means grouping together related content. This means having one overarching category, then sub-categories from that, and then sub-sub-categories within those, and importantly, having rich content on all of these pages.
Internal linking is important for SEO because it helps to provide the context of your pages to Google, as well as to highlight which pages are more important than others. Make sure you're using breadcrumb links, check that you don't have broken links, have an HTML and XML sitemap, only link to important pages from your home page (think category pages like we mentioned earlier), and so on; these are easy wins for internal linking.
Having a look at your SEO holistically every now and then is like spring cleaning. It's healthy to do it occasionally. There are two main types of SEO audits—those that repair errors and those that are proactive. Conduct both types on your site.
Fix the issues that exist, and you'll almost immediately see a jump in Google search rankings. Be proactive in making your website better and you'll survive broad core updates better than your competitors do.
Site audits start with running your website through a tool that is built specifically for this purpose. This will help you to identify where you're lacking, such as if duplicate content is detected or your homepage loading speed needs to be made faster, for example.
You can also look at your Google Analytics dashboard and determine from there what needs to be improved upon. This will tell you how fast your page loads, the time it takes until the first content on a page is loaded, how well you're performing on mobile versus desktop, and more.
As you can imagine, it can be time consuming to make sure you're constantly staying up to date with every major update, whether they're core updates or other types. It can also be a full-time job ensuring your website's SEO is current and adheres to best practices.
That's why we recommend leaving it to experts, such as our team at P.tch. We do all the heavy lifting for you, like anticipating updates and constantly being proactive in making sure your website appears high up in Google search queries. Connect with us today to find out how we can improve your search engine rankings.