Google’s “core update” released in June has affected search rankings for millions of websites. This isn’t something new, Google updates its algorithms for search ranking every few months. However, the usual advice from Google about how to deal with the negative effects to your website from these changes is: “There is nothing you can do to fix your site if you see a decline in search rankings after a core update.” However, this time Google has spoken and has suggestions about how to improve your website’s rankings.
WHAT GOOGLE HAD TO SAY.
Google reiterated that “There is nothing you can do to fix your site if you see a decline in search rankings after a core update” while at the same time offering advice about areas that should be the focus of your website to improve the ranking. Sounds like double talk. Thanks, Google? Their main suggestion is to: “Focus on putting outstanding content on your website, this is where the algorithms will reward you.“
In order to follow Google’s advice you need to answer these questions about your website.
- Do you provide a comprehensive description of your subject matter?
- Are you providing an insightful analysis of the topic?
- Are you providing originality and added value on the subject?
- Are your headlines helpful and descriptive?
- Compared to similar websites does yours offer better value of information?
- Is your content of genuine interest to those who visit?
Does your information pass the “expertise” question?
- Do visitors trust the information?
- Do you provide clear sourcing?
- Is there easy to find evidence of the expertise behind your information?
- Do you provide background information about the experts cited?
- Do you offer links to the expert information you provide?
If you were a visitor to your own site would you:
- Be impressed with how trustworthy it is?
- Think the information presented is from a highly respected authority?
- Find any factual errors?
- Find duplicate or redundant articles on the same topic.
- Trust your time and money to any of the information?
Is your website stylistically and correctly presented?
- Would one think that you have taken great care in its creation?
- Are there spelling errors?
- Is it grammatically correct?
- Does it seem like your content is mass-produced?
- Is there a logical flow to the content?
Does your website have an excessive number of ads?
- Is the visitor experience hampered by ads?
- Are you taking care of your visitors first?
Your website should be easy to view on mobile devices.
- Mobile-friendly websites are the norm.
- Google best practices call for mobile-friendly.
- Did the designer of your website use responsive design?
GOOGLE’S SEARCH QUALITY EVALUATOR GUIDELINE
Google offered basic advice to website owners, but they also provided “Search Quality Raters” with a 166-page Search Quality Evaluator Guideline. “Google contracts with over 10,000 search quality raters worldwide to evaluate its search results.” While the raters cannot change any search results, they can mark a listing as low quality. Google claims this cannot cause a page to be banned or lose ranking, but the quality rater’s data can have a negative impact on that website.
Google’s Search Quality Evaluators Guideline summarizes the most important factors that affect page quality ratings:
- “The Purpose of the Page.”
- “Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness.”
- “Main Content Quality and Amount.”
- “Ability to Information about Who is Responsible for the Information.”
- The reputation of the Website.”
EXPERTISE, AUTHORITATIVENESS, AND TRUSTWORTHINESS
Many who work as Search Engine Optimizers believe that focusing on the Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness of a website is the most important element to increase page ranking. One must remember that “the first step in page quality rating is to understand the true purpose of the page.” A website should offer some benefit and help the user. The amount of Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness on your website is critical and should mirror the type of content presented. Some examples of highly rated Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness information are:
- Medical advice should come from accredited medical experts.
- News articles should come from journalistic professionals.
- Scientific topics should come from the well-established scientific consensus.
- Financial advice should come from CPAs, certified financial planners, etc.
- Legal information should come from attorneys and other trustworthy sources.
Even information about home remodeling, parenting, weight loss, and other topics that one present should have advice from those that are considered experts in that field.
THE VALUE OF A GREAT WEBSITE
Googles June announcement was big news. Unfortunately, it was bad news for some business’s websites. Traffic can drop by up to 90% on sites after these updates. Websites are often the first or only interaction people will have with your company.
A Stanford University study found that “75% of users admit to making judgments about a company’s credibility based on the website’s design.” As the old saying goes, “You never get a second chance to make a good first impression.” This was never truer than in the current age of technology.
Search engine optimization is a must-have to get your website ranked up in searches. Just as important is what people see when they land on your page. Many studies about web design have shown that:
- Visitors will not engage with an unattractive website.
- A lack of ability to see the content on a mobile device shows the company doesn’t care.
- Customer will not return when a website runs slowly.
- The website design is the most important factor to determine credibility.
IS IT TIME TO UPDATE YOUR WEBSITE?
So, what should website owners do now? The best defense is a good offense so maybe it is time to bring in the big guns. For the sake of your business, you need to update your website so that it does not get stuffed down in the rankings.
The team at BWS has this advice for business owners. “Whether your current website needs a face lift, you need a fully branded solution, or you need new management for your website,” BWS has experienced teams that will provide “the solutions you need to achieve your goals.”
Contact us today to find how your website can shoot up in the search ranks.