It’s happened again: Google have made a change to their search algorithm and the tech world is throwing its hands in the air in shock.
We’re not sure quite why!
According to Moz, (1) Google changes its algorithm around 500-600 times per year.
That’s almost twice a day.
Most changes are so minor as to go unnoticed, but some are much more noticeable.
So, do you need to worry about Google’s changes, and how might they affect your business?
(Spoiler alert: yes and no!)
Hold on, what’s an algorithm?
An algorithm is a mathematical formula Google use to work out how to rank a website in their SERPs (search engine results page).
At it’s simplest, it’s a checklist to see how your website measures up against the other is could show. It includes a whole list of ranking factors (criteria) such as:
- How active is your website?
- How relevant is your website?
- Is your website mobile friendly?
And (according to some guestimates) around 200 other ranking factors as well!
Google’s magic formula
Google, of course, won’t reveal exactly what the magic algorithm formula is, and they often don’t tell anyone about algorithm changes either. Instead, SEO and search professionals start to spot shifts in the ranking of website, and work backwards to find out what’s happening.
So, what changed in October?
According to search engine marketing expert Marie Haynes:
“This is an update in how Google assesses trust. Unnatural links can be a sign of low trust, but there are many other possible trust issues that Google looks at as well.” (2)
This is nothing new in the sense that Google has always frowned on ‘unnatural’ links - i.e. links bought in bulk that come from unrelated on untrustworthy sites. (If you’ve got any of these, disavow them pronto!)
The Google Quality Raters’ Guidelines
What has appeared to change is the extension of the methods used to establish the trustworthiness of a site. Key to this are Google’s Quality Raters’ Guidelines. (4) These are the guidelines for the humans behind the maths, a team of real people who make manual checks on SERPs results. They feed back info to the Google engineers on the quality of sites appears in the SERPs.
The importance of healthy E-A-T
Key to a Google Quality Rater’s analysis of the quality of a website is E-A-T; Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness.
As the Guideline state:
“A High quality page should have a beneficial purpose and achieve that purpose well. In addition, High quality pages have the following characteristics:
• High level of Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness (E-A-T).
• A satisfying amount of high quality MC, including a descriptive or helpful title. ● Satisfying website information and/or information about who is responsible for the website. If the page is primarily for shopping or includes financial transactions, then it should have satisfying customer service information.
• Positive website reputation for a website that is responsible for the MC on the page.
• Positive reputation of the creator of the MC, if different from that of the website. "
(MC stands for Main Content by the way, the words that appear on your web pages.)
Trustworthiness is key
The latest updates seem to work towards establishing the T (Trustworthiness) in E-A-T. Google now won’t just take your word for it on your website that you are an “international leaders in the field of bespoke bronze aardvark statues”. The algorithm appears to seek out further confirmation of your status, including links from reputable art websites, aardvark related sites, and reviews of your statues and services. (It also checks listing sites such as your Better Business Bureaus (BBB) profile - see ref 3) below for how to optimise yours.)
Establishing trust through content
So, how can you ensure your website it trustworthy? Look again at that Google Guideline:
"A satisfying amount of high quality MC, including a descriptive or helpful title."
That means a sufficient quantity of text to make your page carry authority - and that includes your home page. It also includes every other page on your website, and all your blogs. If your pages are low on content, you should consider rewriting and expand your website text. (Or ask us to do it for you if writing is right up there with your top pet hates.)
Forget blogs, think articles
Blogs are a great way to add focussed, quality content to your website IF you write them as quality, informative articles on a specific subject (like this one). Google (and the Raters) should like this page a lot because we’ve written it to help you, our client, understand more about Google algorithm updates and how they might affect your business. (We’ve also written it with their guidelines in mind, which helps!)
How Akira Studio can help
We think it’s unlikely that the latest algorithm update will affect the majority of websites. However, it’s a timely wake-up call to all us website owners to review the quality of our website in terms of quality of content. So, if you think yours need a rewrite, some new articles, an update to your meta keywords, or a fresh look that’s mobile compatible,
• call us at 480-409-1951
• email us
• Message us on Facebook