Google Updates Explained: How To Prevent Traffic Drops In The Future

Google Updates Explained: How To Prevent Traffic Drops In The Future

According to Google search liaison, Danny Sullivan, Google updates happen all the time. Sometimes they’re unannounced, but only when it doesn’t have any specific effect on websites.

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Google updates

However, last year, DailyMail UK lost half of their traffic overnight after a Google update. A lot of websites got hit, too, especially those who are in the YMYL category (Your Money or Your Life). Although there are many reasons why a website experiences traffic drops after each update, there are also many ways to prevent it. And that’s what we’re going to show you in this article.

But first, let’s define what exactly are Google Algorithm updates.

What is a Google Algorithm Update?

Google algorithm updates are changes that Google implements to improve the search engine or how they rank websites in the search results. An update could be a new set of filters or a refreshment of data that Google’s algorithms use.

Google used to identify the specific factors that an update may focus on, such as Panda for eliminating spammy content, Penguin for spammy links, and so on. But they don’t do that anymore. Currently, Google updates are mostly Broad Core algorithm updates, which means they measure the quality of a website on a variety of factors and a wider scale, not just on the quality of its content or the number of its inbound links.

And as explained by Google senior webmaster trends analyst, John Mueller, there is no specific fix for Broad Core algorithm updates unless otherwise specified by Google, just like the most recent Featured Snippets update and its newest AI algorithm, BERT.

Google broad core updates

Moreover, in a Google Hangouts session with webmasters, Mueller explained that the only way to survive Google updates and to prevent traffic drops is to improve your website’s quality constantly.

Below, we will show you actionable steps on how to make a high-quality website based on the official Google Webmaster Guidelines.

How to Build a High-Quality Website that Can Withstand Almost Any Google Algo Update?

Google has over 200 ranking factors, but there are a few significant factors that impact a website the most. However, having a high-quality website doesn’t stop at making great and shareable content. People go to Google to consume content, and that’s usually what most webmasters consider when they think of a high-quality website. It’s indeed the search engine giant’s primary requirement.

Below are other major steps that you can do to ensure your website is as high-quality as Google wants it to be.

1. Conduct a Third-Party Initiated Site Audit

Your familiarity with your website will get in the way of making a valid, unbiased assessment of its quality. A complete SEO audit of your website will reveal areas of opportunity you’ve never seen before, like a piece of content that is outdated or a few broken pages or links that need to be fixed.

Furthermore, a professional SEO consultation from a third party SEO service provider will give you valuable insights from small yet significant details that may have been unchecked and could potentially cause you to lose traffic in the future.

2. Build Trust: Responsive Contact Us Page

Part of building trust is building rapport, and your “Contact Us” page is an avenue for that. Moreover, the contact page makes it convenient for your audience to reach you at their preferred mode of communication – email, phone call, social media, etc. While others neglect their contact us pages, it is important to know how to encourage visitors to use your contact us page. A Contact Us page will open new doors for customer service and sales that are vital for every business.

Make sure your contact page contains your telephone number, street address, and other important essential business information.

This page will also affect your user experience. Because of the animosity of many webpages, customers will not revisit a website if they think nobody really cares about them. A responsive Contact Us page sends a good signal to Google about the reliability and trustworthiness of your website and the people behind it.

3. Establish Authority: Insightful About Us Page

Part of Google’s guidelines on building high-quality pages is to make sure your website is an ‘authoritative’ source of information. This is why your credentials are important. Your “About Us” page is where you feature the people behind your website – their expertise and experience. This is especially important if your site falls under the YMYL category, where your content can make a significant impact on your readers’ lives.

Furthermore, your “About” page is the best page to mention or feature your achievements, mission, and vision statements as an entity or a company whether it’s a personal blog or a company website that you run, your About page matters.

4. Show Expertise: Produce High-Quality & Original Content

High-quality content contains no grammatical errors, is highly informative, unbiased, and original. It should have detailed, specific examples that are helpful, insightful, and beyond common knowledge. The goal of creating high-quality content is to make it informative and reliable enough that it can be printed in an encyclopedia, magazine, or book. In making high-quality content, attention to detail is an absolute must.

5. Be Reliable: Regularly Update Your Content

Updating your content regularly also builds more trust between you and your audience and increases your domain authority. Moreover, people now include dates in their searches so updating your content regularly will also increase your traffic. To increase your click-through rate, include the date or year in your title, especially when you know that people will intentionally include the year in their search.

Even evergreen content will also need updating once in a while. You may have grammar errors, broken outgoing links, spammy links, or bad visuals/images.

6. Remove Spammy Links or Content

Google hates spam. Remove spammy links in the comments section of your blog. Clean up your website’s internal linking. Don’t use wrong 301 redirects, instead use a custom 404 page to lead your audience to the right page.

Moreover:

  • don’t link to or publish spammy content on your website,
  • don’t scrape, spin, or duplicate content from another website,
  • don’t use doorway pages and don’t allow malicious ads, viruses, or phishing software,
  • don’t put your readers’ cyber safety at risk.

7. Diversify Your Link Background

If you’re not shy to grey hat tactics, don’t build your links on private or public blog networks alone. If you’re running your own private blog network, make sure that the other websites supporting your ‘money’ site are not spammy but can stand alone on their own.

However, the use of PBNs is a disaster waiting to happen. Google will catch up on your irregular link profile, and the effort you put in building your PBN will go down the drain. Google will suspect your links are coming from a PBN if they come from domains with private WhoIs information. So, it’s vital that you build your links around other high-quality websites, too.

Buying links as a shortcut to the first page of SERPs will be a short-lived victory.

8. Make Your Website Secure

Would you be confident in leaving your credit card information to your own website’s checkout page?

HTTPS is one of Google’s 200 ranking factors. Google made it very clear to webmasters that switching to HTTPS from HTTP will be mandatory from 2017. Making your website secure also increases trust and will positively affect user experience.

9. Be Mobile-Friendly

It’s no secret that many users visit websites on their mobile phones. So, making your page mobile-responsive ensures that your website performs well on any kind of device. If they can’t read your website’s content on their mobile, they will not stay. Take the Google Search Console Mobile-Friendly Test to know your website’s mobile-responsiveness and solve any areas that may hinder people from accessing your site on their mobile devices.

10. Speed Up Your Website’s Loading Time

Users have a very short attention span, and your website’s load time will shorten the amount of time they can stay on it. Even if you have a high click-through rate, if your pages load slowly, your users will close it out and check other websites instead. A high bounce rate will eventually affect your ranking because it will send a signal to Google that your visitors didn’t find your web pages helpful or that they are not seeing what they’re looking for in the first place.

Consider optimising your images as high-quality images are going to consume a lot of bandwidth while loading. Also, put fewer pop-ups, reduce redirects, consider changing your hosting or prioritising your website’s top fold to enable ‘lazy loading’. Lazy loading will help the users have a better experience.

You may test your website’s load time through Google’s PageSpeed Insights – this tool also helps in identifying areas that need improvement when it comes to speeding up your site.

Better User Experience Prevents Traffic Drop

The latest Google Algorithm updates no longer dwell on one specific metric or ranking factor. Webmasters should be more proactive instead of reactive when it comes to optimising their domain. High-quality websites offer the best user experience.

To survive each Google Update, think of the overall user experience all the time. User experience weighs more than links and other ranking factors because Google’s business dwells on its users’ consumption of content.

Do you want to ensure that your website will survive the next Google algo update? Talk to the SEO and algorithm update experts today.

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Author
Head of SEO & SEM - Matt Calik

Head of SEO & SEM

Technical SEO specialist experienced in creating scalable processes based on agile methodologies. Responsible for international SEO strategies. He has strongly analytical approach to online marketing supported by over 12 years of experience. Previously associated with IT, motorsport, tobacco and financial markets. He has been building Delante for 5 years where he is Head of SEO and SEM department.

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