If you are in marketing, or your business depends on online traffic, you are certainly familiar with SEO. In the same way, you are probably aware of the changes Google makes over time. With constant updates, core upgrades, and similar algorithm changes, SEO continues to evolve. But, this evolution brings something else as well. It changes the rules of the game. And sometimes, rolling out major changes like core algorithm updates can directly affect your rankings. This is something that professional citation companies, link building, and SEO experts know best. Updates that could impact your SEO efforts can have an extensive influence on search in various industries. So it’s crucial to figure out how to stay on track and be familiar with the latest SEO updates.
Introduction to the latest SEO updates and their impact
The dramatic drop in traffic that comes from search engine changes is not a minor thing. Especially for people who implement various SEO strategies to promote their business. When the current strategy shows the signs of weakness, it’s time to quickly adapt. Even if Google is not revealing all the details with every update, there are few things you can do to continue reaching your target audience. Here, we’ll try to explain how things work, and what you should continue to do to acquire the best results.
Here is the summary of some of the main Google algorithms over the last few years:
- Hummingbird (2013) – behavioral focusing on the semantic search, with the goal to show more relevant and personalized results.
- Pigeon (2014) – the aim is to offer better local search results and rewarding those with strong organic SEO.
- Panda 4.2 (2015) – with a focus to penalize for using spammy links and low-quality content.
- RankBrain (2015) – for boosting Google’s special SERP features and related search results.
- Penguin 4.0 (2016) – it focuses directly on the backlink profiles.
- Fred (2017) – focusing on the link-quality of websites and fights against the overadvertising.
- Mobile speed (2018) – speed update release, accounting the page speed as one of the ranking factors for mobile searches.
- BERT (2019) – stands for Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers. It uses deep learning technology to better understand natural language. The main goal is to shift focus from overusing keywords to more natural language and phrases.
- The May 2020 Core Update (2020) – introducing a common set of signals “Core Web Vitals“ for better accuracy and relevancy of the SERP.
Impact on the industries
Not all industries are affected in the same way. We don’t have a detailed insight into all ranking factors and micro-mechanics of updates, but we definitely see the difference. Travel, Real Estate, many small businesses, and similar industries are affected the most, in a negative way. On the other hand, News, large businesses, Online platforms, Entertainment and such, are experiencing positive results. And this includes results and rankings from both mobile and desktop searches. For those who see the drop, the bad news is that there is no direct recovery process. However, implementing the best practice, providing strong, accurate, and authoritative content, is the best long-term cure.
Where to focus?
With such a tremendous amount of structured data, it’s no wonder that SERPs are changing so much. To counter this, there are several areas you can focus on. You can improve rankings, mitigate the consequences of updates, and achieve better long term results if:
- Continue to provide high-quality content that is insightful, accurate, and comprehensive.
- Understanding and adjusting to SERP changes
- Understand how the latest SEO updates affect backlinks
- Implement a Mobile-First approach
- Focus on multiple channels
Don’t forget that Google is focusing on relevance rather than on optimization. They want to improve the overall user experience by forcing the quality over quantity. After all, the content is there for end users, not for bots, crawlers, and algorithms.
High-quality content reigns
Despite all the changes, one strategy remains relevant. Providing high-quality content was and will be, above any changes. No matter what algorithms arrive, relevant, accurate, and quality content will typically achieve higher rankings. It has to provide real value to users. And if you implement an engaging combination of textual and visual content between, even better.
As algorithms become more complex and advance, you need to focus on better user experience (UX). There is a great correlation between website functionality, UX, and SERP results.
Optimize for voice search
Voice search will probably become a trend in the next few years. Normally, with the advancement of internet and technology, it’s no wonder some predict it will take 30% of all searches. Maybe, even more.
Visual content is on the rise
Visual content, especially videos, is significantly increasing in the last years. It’s one of the trends that makes a sudden boom and is here to stay. More than 80% of marketers prefer video content to represent different products. This is not a surprise since it’s, by far, the most engaging type of content.
Understand SERP changes
With all the changes in SERP, it can be confusing to find the right approach and improve ranking. The layout is changing and we see more and more video content, visual elements, and ads in results. The answer box, carousels, and similar elements are slowly pushing common ranking results off the page. It’s becoming more complex to direct traffic to your website. Since there are many variables for ranking these days, you need to focus optimization on more than one field.
The latest SEO updates and backlinks
With all the changes going on, backlinks still remain one of the strongest ranking signals. However, it’s not enough to pile up countless numbers of backlinks and pray for good results. In essence, they have to be high-quality backlinks from multiple authority domains. Monitoring and regularly auditing your backlink profile proves to be a necessary aspect of every SEO campaign.
Mobile-First approach after the latest SEO updates
The Mobile-first approach becomes a necessity since it was enabled by default for all new websites in 2019. It became clear that the era of desktop devices rule is finally coming to an end. Now all websites need to adjust content to users and search engines for multiple devices. This is expected because mobile searches are surpassing others by far. In general, this forces responsive web design and attention to better user experience to all websites.
Focusing on multiple channels
Google is crucial as a source of traffic and many businesses depend on it. However, it’s not the only channel that can generate traffic. With the attention to improve the quality of content, you should also pay attention to other channels. In fact, there are many that can help you reach your target audience.
At the moment, these changes are making a big impact on SEO marketing strategies. But, the latest SEO updates that could impact your SEO efforts are nothing but a chance to improve the value of your content. Of course, staying on foot with all the hidden elements and trends to follow can drive anyone mad. But, there is no room for panic. With the help of a well-versed SEO team, you can easily achieve your goals.