As we know by now, several times a year, Google makes significant, broad changes to its search algorithms and systems aka core updates that undeniably affect our rankings and positioning on search engines. And that is the main reason for us as WordPress professionals, freelancers, agencies or end users, to always be informed and stay ahead of these changes. Imagine not being aware of it so you don’t know what to expect at the moment when there is a huge ranking drop, or a significantly weaker visit to the site? These are precisely the things this Google Broad Core Update tackles.
So, here’s how core updates work, and what you can do to assess and perhaps improve your or your client’s content.
Google Broad Core Update (November 2023): Implications for Your Business
Google’s November 2023 Core Algorithm Update marked a significant change in search algorithms. It targets a different aspect of its ranking system compared to the changes made in the October 2023 updates and is said to reshape the SEO landscape for businesses.
Although it’s rare for Google to roll out two major updates in such a short span, they advise website owners to concentrate on crafting content that is /now more than ever/ user-centric, helpful, and trustworthy. If this is something you already have set in place, significant changes might not be necessary in response to the update.
Additionally, Google has updated its Q&A section on Search updates. This provides clearer insights into how a ranking system differs from an update, the reasons behind Google’s frequent updates, and the steps website owners should take during these periods of change. Now, to move more deeply onto the changes per se.
Key Features of the Update
The latest core update focuses on promoting helpful, relevant content and demoting lower-quality content. The criteria for what constitutes ‘helpful content’ is now refined, affecting how web pages are ranked. In relations to its latest changes in Search as well, these key features evolve around the following:
· Local SEO impact
If you weren’t by now, it is beyond time to go all in on mobile friendliness since Google places more importance on websites that are mobile-friendly and offer a good user experience. It’s vital to ensure your website works well on smartphones and other devices, providing an easy-to-navigate and accessible interface.
This update highlights the importance of E-E-A-T, meaning it favors content that shows expertise, comes from authoritative sources, and is trustworthy. It’s beneficial to focus on creating high-quality content and establishing your site as a reliable source of information. Furthermore, if the sites you run have review-based content, the new ranking system they pushed out is designed to evaluate all of it. Meaning, articles, blog posts, and other standalone content focused on analysis and opinions will be analyzed and reviewed in more detail.
As for Local SEO, this update significantly affects local search rankings, making it crucial for local businesses to optimize their websites accordingly. Ensure your online business information is accurate and your site is optimized for local search to maintain or improve your local SEO performance.
What about creating more helpful content?
As we mentioned above, things changed slightly, and Google explained it more thoroughly, in their blog post. However, here is the summary:
Creating Helpful, Reliable, People-First Content
- Google’s ranking systems favor content designed to benefit people, not just improve search engine rankings.
- Creators should evaluate their content to ensure it’s helpful and reliable. This can include self-assessment and feedback from unaffiliated individuals.
Content and Quality Questions
- Quality content should offer original information, complete descriptions, and insightful analysis.
- It should be well-produced, free of errors, and not just mass-produced or outsourced.
- Ask whether the content would be bookmarked, shared, or appear in reputable publications.
- Content should demonstrate clear sourcing, evidence of expertise, and a trustworthy background.
- It should be written or reviewed by experts and free of factual errors.
Providing a Great Page Experience
- Aim for a great overall page experience, considering various aspects like navigation and loading times.
Focus on People-First Content
- Create content mainly for people, showing first-hand expertise and satisfying user experience.
- Avoid content solely made for attracting search engine visits or covering trending topics without real expertise.
SEO and E-E-A-T
- apply SEO should to people-first content, not just for search engine ranking.
- Google’s ranking systems use factors like experience, expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness (E-E-A-T).
- Trust is the most critical aspect, especially for content that impacts health, finance, or safety (YMYL topics).
Ask “Who, How, and Why” about Your Content
- Who: Clearly indicate who created the content, with bylines and author information.
- How: Explain how are you creating the content, including the role of any automation or AI.
- Why: Focus on creating content to help people, not just to attract search engine visits.
But, wait, is it all good?
One glimpse to X’s feed around this topic and you’ll see many posts like these:
As it turns out, Google still has no estimate for when the November 2023 core update will be completed. It’s due to various internal factors as well as goals to do everything by the book and as thoroughly as possible. In the meantime, you and your clients keep focusing on providing valuable content and a great user experience to maintain or improve their search engine rankings.
What to do if you get affected by this core update?
In summary, Google emphasizes the creation of content that is genuinely useful and reliable. On top of that, the content that you make with expertise, and design primarily for users, not search engines. Creators and you who run their websites should aim for transparency in authorship and production methods, and ensure their content serves a meaningful purpose for their audience. If your website is affected by a Google Broad Core Update, here’s what to do. It’s important to understand that they are about improving the overall quality of search results, so consider the following:
- Check how mobile-friendly your website is and make improvements if needed.
- Focus on the quality of your content, aiming to enhance its value and relevance.
- In translation to this core update: create content for the people who use search engines.
- Use tools and analytics to monitor your website’s performance and execute SEO audit.
- Consider working with external SEO professionals to effectively navigate through this update.
On top of that:
1. Avoid Quick Fixes
- Avoid overreacting with drastic changes immediately after an update. Sometimes, it’s better to observe for a bit before making major changes.
- Steer clear of black-hat SEO tactics. These can harm your site’s reputation and rankings in the long term.
2. Stay Informed and Flexible
- Keep up to date with SEO news and Google’s guidelines. Google often provides insights and tips through their blogs and community forums.
- Be flexible and ready to adapt your SEO strategy as search algorithms and user behaviors evolve.
For further assistance or to stay updated with the latest fluctuations in search rankings after an update, Google’s Search Central Help Community forum remains a valuable resource and do let us know if this core update affected you in any way.