Google took a two-month break during COVID-19 from making any algorithm updates, but on the 5th of May, it was back into it - and this one has packed a punch. Because this particular update was a ‘core’ update - which only happens several times a year compared to its thousands of regular updates, it has made more of an impact. The last core update was in January and a lot has changed in the world since then, including what people are searching for on the internet.

These Google ‘core’ updates are focused on improving the search quality by giving users a better search experience and results. So for those of you who noticed your website traffic increasing in the last few months then fantastic, your digital marketing is likely on point. For those who noticed traffic decreasing, then don’t panic - this is just a sign you need to work more on your website content and technical SEO.

Google doesn’t just rank a web page because of its high quality - it predominantly ranks a web page because of how relevant it is. Think about it, if you do a search and get the result you are looking for, Google has done its job and you will come back.

The most recent changes in the search results appear to be influenced by newly published content and adapting (or culling) older content coupled with ensuring the technical SEO is properly implemented.

COVID-19 has changed what people need from Google’s search results, for example - travel, tourism, and live entertainment are no longer popular topics, and instead online products and services have soared in ratings. So Google has had to play catch up with how the world is searching, and companies with services providing SEO expertise are especially valuable at this time.

Being at the top of Google doesn’t necessarily mean you are winning compared to your competitors - it simply means you are doing things well. But to do things well, you have to be able to understand these algorithm updates, and they are changing all the time. Google Analytics will show you what is happening to your website traffic, and if for some reason it is going down then there are some tools to fix it.

Even if you have a high domain authority or domain score, you can be affected by these updates - and may not be getting as much traffic as you thought.

Updating your website content frequently is important - and not just your blog posts, but the information inside including the articles you post as well. Refresh your website to keep it relevant and up-to-date, using specific keywords that are relevant to your business, and therefore making it easier for your customers to find you. Make sure all the links to other URL’s are still active and add images or videos to enhance the site visually.

Your website content should be able to ‘speak’ to many people - not just those who are interested in your product or service. Make it smart but simple, because not everybody has time to read a lot of information. Google has an acronym E.A.T which stands for expertise, authority, and trust (further information about that can be found here).

Fix thin content so all of your pages have a good-sized word count, and if there are pages which are a bit thin on the ground then look at adding an image or video, particularly when the subject would benefit more from visual content.

Always look at what your competitors are doing - particularly those that are ranking high on Google’s front page, and see how they have used their content.

Fix your SEO errors - this will give you a better chance of ranking highly, and make sure you don’t have duplicate title tags and meta descriptions across your website. Some other things worth looking at with your web content include making sure the spelling and grammar are correct, the headlines are short and snappy, and that everything is factually correct.

Are the topics you are posting driven by genuine interests of the readers, and do they feature original content? Is the information interesting enough that your readers would want to share it with other people?

There are no guarantees who will be affected by a Google algorithm update, but if you make your website user friendly then it will have the most impact on people searching for your product or service on the internet.