Why You Should Care about Google Updates
So you vaguely remember reading about Google doing some core update. Meh. Pass. Not relevant to you, you’re sure, because it sounds pretty technical and boring, and you certainly have a ton of other matters to consider and act on. There’s only so much time, right?
Well, to put it bluntly, wrong. As a business owner (and maybe the marketer for that business) it’s imperative you stay up-to-date on the one entity that can make or break you: Google.
Yes, Google. How, you ask?
Google is the search we all use, at 83 percent of the market share of search engines worldwide. It’s been like this since the early 2000s. That’s over two decades. And this isn’t going to change anytime soon.
So this means you and your business need to get to know Google and how it works and why it works the way it does inside and out, as much as you can. Or get an SEO team to do that for you.
Even if you hire a team, familiarize yourself with Google core updates and how it’s currently impacting your business. The knowledge will make you think twice about your website and the content living on it.
Google has been doing these core updates every few months lately, which means you have a month or two to prepare for the first one, sure to come early in 2024. The Google algorithm update will only be announced about two weeks before they do the update, as has been the pattern so far.
At Republix, we take what we do seriously and we want to give you as much information as possible so you can make an informed business decision. That’s why over the next few months we’re going to post blogs about SEO and how it impacts you as a business. All that starts with this article on Google updates and the SEO changes it means for you.
Don’t have an SEO program? Read our series and then reach out to see how we can help, because SEO is going to be even more important than ever in 2024. Let’s get into it!
Google, the big SEO disruptor
If you have a website, you need to care about Google. It’s the biggest player and it’s how people find your business. A big disruptor many marketers and business owners are failing to pay attention to—and to their detriment—is Google algorithm updates.
Search engines like Google continually refine their algorithms (in Google’s case it’s a search algorithm) to enhance the user experience and provide more relevant results. Google is about relevant results for searchers.
A search algorithm is an algorithm that’s created to solve a problem. The problem a search engine wants to solve is how do things searched get found when there are billions of search possibilities.
It’s like trying to find a specific drop of water in the ocean. It can’t be done. But with the internet, and the vast, exponential world that lives therein, a search algorithm is the laser point guiding people to your site.
This means Google has to refine their search algorithm and give it rules, to put it simplistically. These rules are found mostly in content and how they want it created, and they call their rules E-E-A-T (which we will talk about more in-depth in a later post).
E-E-A-T stands for Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. Follow the format they want for content, and your chances of ranking well improve.
Want to know where the thinnest pizza is in your town? Google wants to give you the best, most relevant results. Same for if you want to better understand say time dilation. Every possible search falls under the same search criteria for Google, and your website and its content is vetted against the same guidelines as everyone else’s does for ranking better.
It’s up to you and your SEO team to ensure you follow their dictates to the letter. Literally.
SEO professionals need to closely monitor algorithm updates and anticipate changes in ranking factors. Adaptability is key, as new factors or modifications to existing ones could significantly impact SEO strategies.
This is why your business needs to stay on top of this (or have a team that does). Not being found in search and having low rankings translates into fewer sales for you. And in the tough economic time we’re in now, search just might be more important than ever.
Google makes significant changes to their search algorithms and systems a few times a year. These are broad changes called core updates. Google gives notice when core updates happen and these dates can be found here: list of Google Search ranking updates.
Core updates are designed to ensure Google delivers on their mission to deliver helpful and reliable results for users (searchers). The changes they implement are about improving how their systems assess content overall.
Content, the very thing that lives on your website. It all hinges on content, and we’ll dive deeply into content in the next post. It’s too important not to.
You can find out more about Google’s ranking algorithm and its core updates at webmasters.googleblog.com. Core updates for 2023 happened in March, August, October, and November.
The latest update was anticipated to take two weeks to roll out and involved an improvement to a different core system than last month, according to Google. The purpose of November’s core algorithm change was to improve on “providing valuable and dependable search results for users” and could “potentially affect your site’s overall traffic.”
You can find additional guidance from Google here to help you assess the impact of core updates on your business and web traffic. The best course of action is to constantly ensure your content meets Google’s standards (content that is helpful and relevant).
These updates have been coming in heavy the last few years, and there’s no sign of them slowing down. As business owners and marketers, it’s essential that we are aware of these updates and work hard every day to ensure content is helpful, people-first, and follows E-E-A-T guidelines.
As a result, and this is where businesses should sit up and take note, these core update changes have been known to cause some pages that previously didn’t perform as well (“under-rewarded” is the word Google uses) to do better in search results and those that did well to lose ranking. No one can know for sure how the update will affect sites.
Your best course of action? Make sure you have content Google will like, and they are very clear on what that means.
An example of how core updates affect ranking
Google explains it best themselves on their Google Search Central section about core updates. They say that one way to think of how a core update operates is to imagine a list of your top 100 movies in a given year.
A few years later, you refresh that list. There will be changes to this list, of course. New movies you didn’t know existed years back and have now watched will likely creep into your top 100 movie list, which means others have to fall off or get pushed further down the line.
You finally saw John Carter, a movie from 2012, in 2023 and you loved it. You put it in position #5. Naturally, what was there before, say Pulp Fiction, is now bumped. Not because you don’t appreciate Tarantino’s vision, but because you really loved this other movie more, one you hadn’t seen before.
You might also reassess other films and realize they should have a higher place on the list than before. You just rewatched Logan’s Run and, actually, turns out you love it more than you thought. Up it goes on the list. That means Reservoir Dogs has to move down. Sorry, Tarantino.
The movies that move down the list aren’t bad; it just means that newer films or ones you recently discovered are simply better now than those that were on your list before.
The same thing goes for websites and how they get ranked. One site maybe did a better job at crafting helpful content that shows expertise and trustworthiness more than you, so they’re now getting ranked higher based on how Google’s search ranking algorithm interprets that content.
All you need to know is that Google does these updates to improve their automated search ranking system so that we get the best search results possible. That’s it. That’s what they care about.
They’re constantly updating
Did you know they update Google Search thousands of times a year but only notify the public about the notable ones, like the core updates? And so far in the past few years that has been about ten per year.
That’s a lot of confusion and uncertainty to withstand almost every month as a business with a website. Will pages rank as well as they did before? Will traffic plummet?
It’s a lot to consider and why it’s ideal to have an SEO team you work with so they can handle these situations and ensure your content is optimal and on-page technical SEO is on point.
How to manage the potential fallout of core updates
Ensuring you have content on your website that follows Google’s E-E-A-T guidelines and have people-first content that’s reliable and helpful is how you can weather the possible storm of a Google update. That does not mean even if you follow all the rules and have content that’s as above that your business won’t suffer the fallout of an update. There’s no guarantee, but good content is as close to one as we can possibly get.
Some businesses simply do better after an update (algorithms, there’s no rhyme or reason, sadly) and others suffer and see huge drops in traffic. Either way, an SEO can help.
Keep working with the best writers you can find, the best SEO companies that can ensure you’re top of your game, and delivering content aligned with what Google wants with content. This isn’t going to change any time soon, so ignoring it will possibly result in lost traffic and sales, and you haven’t worked this hard and come this far to not push a little bit more and keep on top of your game.
Rank with Republix
Work with SEO experts like the team at Republix, a data-driven growth marketing agency, who make it their No. 1 objective to stay on top of these updates and who will ensure your pages and content are SEOd correctly. Contact us to see how we can help you get found in search and rank at the top of those searches.