I’m willing to bet that every business owner with an online presence loves to hate SEO. It’s tricky, time-consuming and always changing.
If you’ve ever watched in horror as your site suddenly dropped off page one of the SERPS or your traffic took an unexpected nosedive, this article is for you.
Sometimes, your pain is the result of a software update. Search engines like Google release regular updates to their algorithms. Every time they tweak the formula, some websites win, and others lose.
In this post, I’ll summarise the biggest impacts of the March to September changes and explain how you can take advantage of them.
Focus on content authority over volume
Google’s March 2019 core update continued the recent trend of cracking down on non-specialist content. The search engine preferences content that demonstrates E-A-T (Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness), particularly for sites in the your-money-or-your-life (YMYL) niche.
To demonstrate E-A-T, businesses need to:
- Build their personal brand (brand signals)
- Publish content by genuine experts (trust signals)
Brand signals tell Google that your business is genuine rather than a fake, copy or fraud. There are many ways to build brand signals. Here are a few of the best:
- Have a strong About page that links to other profiles/information/historical mentions of your company, brand and personal history on the web. Informative About pages help search engines verify your personal and company information.
- Secure your brand name across the biggest social platforms in your niche (e.g. Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, Linkedin, Instagram) and get a branded domain name, if possible.
- Build citations/business mentions as well as links. Check out WhiteSpark to find the best citation possibilities in your area. The more mentions of your business, the more trustworthy it seems.
- Build customer testimonials and reviews across multiple platforms (on and off-site). Reviews are the internet’s top social currency.
- Include your NAP (name address and phone number) and other relevant contact information on every page of your website. Being easy to contact means you’re easy to verify.
In line with E-A-T, Google is placing an increasing emphasis on content authority, particularly for YMYL sites in the healthcare, wellness and finance sectors. What does this mean for business? You should:
- Include author attribution in all of your published content. The author is ideally an expert in a relevant field.
- Verify your content authors and check out their personal brand signals for yourself. Look for their profiles on platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, industry registries, directories, academic sources, and so on. If you can verify their authority, so can Google.
- Avoid scrapped, paraphrased/rewritten content that Google can quickly identify as low-value, ‘content-mill’ type stuff. Nothing says ‘untrustworthy’ like trying to cheat the system and doing it badly.
Chase fewer, higher-quality backlinks
It’s no secret that backlinks are the fuel behind successful SEO strategies. But there are right and wrong ways to build them and Google’s updates constantly crack down on bad practices. To stay on Google’s good side:
- Forget about blog comment links. They’re hard to do right and can send negative signals or lead to penalties.
- Avoid link-building “schemes”, e.g. paying for links that aren’t marked as ‘sponsored’, excessive link exchanges and more.
- Make genuine connections with highly relevant, high-quality websites with a healthy audience size.
Forget multiple page rankings for the same keyword
A few days after Google’s June 2019 Core Update, it initiated a change (dubbed the Diversity Update). It cracked down on instances where multiple search results from the same web page appeared on page one of the SERPs.
On the topic, Google says: “This site diversity change means that you usually won’t see more than two listings from the same site in our top results.”
What does this mean for your business?
- Experts think it could impact branded queries since your business is likely to rank highly for more than two pages based on your branded keywords. Under the new algorithm, you might lose some branded traffic, which is a bit of a bummer.
- Forget about targeting multiple page ranks for the same keyword in general. If it happens, great. But don’t make it a big part of your strategy.
- Don’t rely on sub-domains to boost rankings. Google has confirmed that it will now treat them as part of the root domain.
To sum things up…
Although SEO can be a bit of a slog, keeping your strategy on point is one of the best ways to get ahead of your competitors. When people can easily find your business in organic search results, you’ll spend less money on paid advertising and encourage higher-quality and more motivated leads. So:
- Double down on brand signals
- Improve the authority of your content
- Put more effort into better backlinks
- And put the effort you’d be spending on multiple page ranks into other projects
Jodie Manners is a Creative Copywriter, SEO enthusiast and 1st class graduate of the University of Cambridge. She’s been generating profit with her words for over a decade. In her 10-year non-profit fundraising career, she raised over £2million for NPOs through face-to-face sales, management and expert training. She’s writes copy that inspires action and loves helping ethical and creative business owners and non-profits find their voice and get ahead online. You can connect with Jodie through LinkedIn.
Resources: https://webdesigncourse.xyz/how-to-use-google-algorithm-updates-to-increase-your-serp-rank; https://www.toms.co.uk/about-toms; https://www.ukwebhostreview.com/free-domain-name/; https://www.duplichecker.com/; https://cognitiveseo.com/blog/604/identify-low-quality-links-easily/; https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/66356?hl=en; https://twitter.com/searchliaison/status/1136739064193998848?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1136739064193998848&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.stanventures.com%2Fblog%2Fgoogle-algorithm-update-2019%2F; https://twitter.com/searchliaison/status/1136739064193998848?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1136739064193998848&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.stanventures.com%2Fblog%2Fgoogle-algorithm-update-2019%2F