Just when webmasters were done adapting to the previous update, yet another Google core algorithm update has been announced.
The new core update will be the last one for 2020 and the third one for the year. The first one was launched in January 2020, followed by another one in May 2020.
Just like you, I am anxious about what this algorithm update will do to the websites and content online. Since it is still too soon to pass judgment about it, the best thing we can do right now is equip ourselves with all the information possible!
What we know about the Google Core Algorithm Update
Google is known to tweak its algorithm quite a lot. However, a core update is starkly different. The reason that there are only a few core google rollouts per year is because these changes aren’t the same as the usual ones.
Rather than adding a factor with a specified purpose like Penguin or Panda, a Google core algorithm update alters the main algorithm itself by changing the order, importance, value, and weights of its ranking factors.
Considering that there are at least 200 ranking factors in the algorithm, changes in their importance and weight can have a drastic impact on site ranking.
While we are sure that the recent algorithm update will do the same, no one knows exactly how the algorithm will be altered.
Why are Webmasters dreading the update?
To understand why webmasters are scared of the Google update, it is imperative to understand the importance of Google and its algorithms.
According to Internet Live Stats, over 1.7 billion websites are operational on Google, as of 2019. And a whopping 5 billion searches are made on the search engine every day! Yet, research by Brafton revealed that 95 percent of traffic goes to the websites that appear on the first page of search results.
The search engine decides the ranking of the pages depending on its algorithm. While the exact ranking factor is not known, an important insight is that Google tends to rank those websites high that it thinks best helps its site visitors.
This is why websites featuring relevant content, mobile-friendly website, smooth navigation, and a low load time are preferred.
Every year, Google refines and updates its algorithm to further improve user experience. And historically, it has been seen that whenever there is a Google core algorithm update, website rankings tend to be hit.
While the ranking of some sites tends to improve, the opposite is true for others. The fact remains that broad core updates have noticeable effects on search results of all countries, regardless of the language. And the same will most likely be true for the new rollout.
How can webmasters prepare for it?
Yes, certain websites will be adversely affected by the update. But, if you play your cards right from the get-go, there is nothing you have to worry about. Here are the key factors that you must remember.
Think like a user
At the end of the day, everything that Google does is for the users. It aims to make its search experience as seamless as possible.
Therefore, to know how you can appease the search engine, you must think about your end audience. What is it that users want from the website? What are the hurdles they face? What are the things that discourage them from clicking on a given website? And finally, what can you do to improve the user experience.
By answering these questions, you are likely to create an experience that is preferred by your site visitors – and by extension, Google.
Content is still king
There is one thing in the Google algorithm that has remained constant – the importance of content. People visit Google to attain information about certain topics. If your website provides meaningful content about relevant topics, you will automatically be ranked high.
Now, merely adding the right keywords and backlinks without logic or context will not work. The content is likely to be analyzed for its depth, length, and relevancy to the target audience.
Only proper backlinks matter
One thing that SEO experts noticed after the May 2020 update was that content that was solely supported by backlinks featured significant drops in their ranking. This is likely to continue after the December 2020 update as well.
It seems likely that the new algorithm will be able to recognize when the content is not up to par with the backlinks included.
A fast loading experience triumphs
As site visitors become more and more impatient with slow-performing websites, it is likely that Google will increase the weight of loading speed.
The bulk of your site’s content should load at a lightning-fast pace. In fact, according to Forbes, any loading speed above 4 seconds is a lost cause. You should instead aim for 2.5 seconds. That’s how long it should take for all the valuable content of your webpage to appear. And it should do so in a visually appealing manner.
Aim for stability
Nothing is more annoying than trying to interact with a website whose navigation is jumpy. Google prefers websites that offer visual stability.
Make sure that when a visitor scrolls on your site or clicks something, the experience is as smooth as possible. It should not be marred with technical interruptions.
Will the update affect us all? Probably. Will it be bad for some of us? Maybe.
But, rather than dreading something that is imminent, it is much better to prepare ourselves for it.
As they often say, if you are already good at what you do, you don’t need to fear change.
So, rather than trying to figure out how badly the algorithm will hit us, I prefer working on factors I know won’t adversely affect me. You should do the same.
Do comment and let me know how the new update affected you and what you plan to do about it. When dealing such uncertainties, every advice matters!